More than 50 arrested at Minneapolis Black Lives Matter protest

By Chris Getowicz and Manuel Berduc |
November 17, 2015
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Minneapolis, MN - Protesters gathered between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. at the Minneapolis Police Department’s 4th Precinct, Nov. 16, where an occupation is underway to demand justice for Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old Black man shot while in police custody over the weekend. Led by Minneapolis Black Lives Matter, the occupation has been disciplined and well organized with water, food and shelter surrounding the front of the building. Protesters gathered around the fire as people began to arrive. Tensions began to rise early, as the rally began with the expelling of the "white media" demanding that oppressed nationalities be allowed to tell their side of the story.

Around 6:00 p.m. the crowd swelled to over 300 people, and they began to march down Plymouth Avenue, a heart of the historically Black community of Minneapolis. North Minneapolis and Plymouth Avenue have historically seen protests against police brutality in the 1960s, and now a new wave of struggle is developing. Protesters passed where Clark was shot by police, only blocks down Plymouth Avenue from the precinct on Nov. 14 night. A moment of silence was later observed there.

As the protest marched east towards Interstate 94 it continued to grow, swelling close to 500 people as it turned to enter the highway. Protesters were well organized as they entered I-94, taking the westbound lanes and holding them for over an hour.

Police arrived nearly 25 minutes after the highway was blocked, having been notably absent from the protest and march until that point. As police arrived, protesters chanted, “There is only one solution: revolution, revolution!” and “Handcuffs, don’t shoot!” in reference to the brutal shooting of Jamar Clark while he was handcuffed.

As police began to try to organize an exit path for cars bottled up by the protest, protesters shifted and moved to block alternative exit routes. Dozens more locked arms and sat down refusing to be moved. Around a total of 70 police cars began surrounded protesters from all sides, illuminating the area with red and blue lights. At one point a driver being directed to exit by police hit a protester. The protester appeared not to be seriously injured and stayed to hold the line.

As police continued to arrive from the state, county and city, a group of protesters stayed with their arms locked on the highway while another group exited nearby and continued to march back west on Broadway, another main thoroughfare of North Minneapolis.

The march continued back to the Fourth Precinct station where demonstrators briefly paused to observe a moment of silence at the community memorial made on Plymouth Avenure at the location outside the Elks club where Jamar Clark was shot. Protesters held hands in a circle and finished their march toward the police precinct with the chant, “Justice for Jamar!”

The occupation continues and Black lives Matter Minneapolis is asking for bail support for the more than 50 protesters arrested on the interstate.