Tags: minneapolis | protests | interstate 35w | highway | black lives matter

Minneapolis Protests Halt Highway Traffic, Activists Arrested

Image: Minneapolis Protests Halt Highway Traffic, Activists Arrested
Police officers arrest protestors who staged a demonstration which shut down highway 35W on July 13, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Protests and public outcry have grown in the days following the deaths of Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile on July 6, 2016, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 13 Jul 2016 02:50 PM

Minneapolis protesters blocked the southbound lanes of Interstate 35W on Wednesday, the latest episode of unrest following the police killing of Philando Castile.

Many of the participating protestors were arrested on I-35W near the University Avenue bridge, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Some protesters stood in the middle of the freeway holding hands and waving signs, while others chanted from overpasses, KGO-TV reported.

The protesters began to gather at about 7:40 a.m., disrupting rush-hour traffic and contributing to delays of about 90 minutes, WCCO-TV reported. All told, about 40 people were arrested and four cars were impounded.

Around 9 a.m., state troopers formed a line to block other protesters from entering the freeway.

One group of non-black people of color calling itself the Coalition to Wake Your Ass Up received support from Black Lives Matter Minneapolis activist Oluchi Omeoga.

“These white people understand that we’re going through something, that black people are going through something in this country, and they want to fight to make a difference. I think that’s beautiful,” Omeoga said, according to WCCO.

The coalition issued a statement.

"The coalition…believes this shut down reinforces our belief that comfort and business as usual must be disrupted until substantive changes occur in our city and throughout the country. We support community-led alternatives, solutions, and programs to protect our communities. On this day, we support the workers attempting to make a living but we also know that sacrifices must be made if we hope to live decently together."

The freeway was reportedly reopened to traffic around 9:20 a.m., MPR News reported.

"The State Patrol supports the right to exercise one's First Amendment rights, but the freeway is not the place to do so," Minnesota State Patrol Chief Col. Matt Langer said in a statement. "The closure of an interstate freeway for the purposes of a demonstration is unacceptable. They are used by everyone and are an artery for emergency vehicles," he said. "It is illegal to walk on the freeway and blocking traffic is dangerous for both pedestrians and motorists."

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Minneapolis protesters blocked the southbound lanes of Interstate 35W on Wednesday, the latest episode of unrest following the police killing of Philando Castile.
minneapolis, protests, interstate 35w, highway, black lives matter
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2016-50-13
Wednesday, 13 Jul 2016 02:50 PM
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