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Car protest at Gov. Walz’s mansion demands immediate release of immigrants in Minnesota jails

By Brad Sigal |
March 23, 2020
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Protest at MN Gov. Walz’s mansion demands release of immigrants
Protest at MN Governor Walz’s mansion in Saint Paul demands release of immigrants. (Photo by Brad Sigal)

Saint Paul, MN - In one of the first known protests organized since the widespread implementation of ‘social distancing’ and ‘shelter-in-place’ with the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, a car caravan lined Summit Avenue outside Governor Tim Walz’s mansion in Saint Paul to demand immediate release of all immigrant detainees in Minnesota jails.

The protest participants stayed in their cars to avoid social spread of coronavirus. Cars were painted and adorned with posters with slogans like “Governor Walz: Free them all.” People in some cars led chants with megaphones. Periodically, all the cars would honk at the same time to make sure their message was heard. At the same time, an online campaign encouraged people to post selfies with the protest’s message and to call Governor Walz.

The protest was organized by Twin Cities Never Again Action, an organization of “Jews and allies to oppose, disrupt and end the detention and deportation machine.”

The demand of immediate release of immigrants from jails is based on the serious danger that COVID-19 could spread like wildfire in jails with people packed together in unsanitary conditions, which could cause rates of infection and death well beyond what has been seen outside of jails. Several signs at the protest warned that COVID-19 could turn prisons into death camps. The message painted on one car reminded people that Anne Frank, the famous young Jewish woman who died in Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp, was not executed there but died of typhus, a deadly bacterial infection that spread and killed many in the concentration camps.

Twin Cities Never Again Action encourages people to continue to call Governor Tim Walz at 651-201-3400 and demand that all detained immigrants in Minnesota be released immediately.