“People have to see that this shit actually exists”

Minneapolis Protesters Shake Up Holiday Business As Usual at Mall & Airport

December 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Minneapolis, December 23 - From the Mall of America, protesters quickly traveled by light rail to the airport where they blocked entrances at both terminals chanting “No justice, no peace! Prosecute the police!”
(Photo: Leila Navidi/Star Tribune via AP)

On December 23, defiant protests shut down sections of the Mall of America and disrupted the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. Black Lives Matter activists who called the protest issued a statement that said, in part: “We protest the continued unmitigated state sanctioned violence against Black people and communities of color. We protest the continued denial of justice for Black people and Black communities. We want a complete overhaul of the justice system both locally and nationally. Just days after the non-indictment decision in Sandra Bland’s murder in Texas and two months after the fatal police shooting of Jamar Clark in Minnesota, we continue to demand justice, including the release of the tapes in the Jamar Clark case. Grand juries do not get justice for Black people when they are murdered by police, this is just one way the system is setup and works against Black people.”

The protest continued a wave of resistance in Minneapolis that began on November 15, when police murdered 24-year-old Jamar Clark. There was an immediate outpouring of outrage in the Black community in the North Side of Minneapolis where the murder took place. A wide range of people joined in an encampment outside the North Side police station. At one point, white racists attacked protesters, shooting five Black men (all of whom survived). On December 4th, police launched a vicious attack at 3 AM, arresting protesters and bulldozing the encampment (see Minneapolis Cops Attack Encampment: Protests Continue to Demand Justice for Jamar Clark). Police continue to refuse to releases video of the killing.

Early Wednesday afternoon, about 500 protesters gathered at the Mall of America. Some 80 stores temporarily closed their gates, kiosks were covered and even Santa left his sleigh shortly before protesters gathered at the massive shopping district on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Numerous signs were posted on mall property, saying no protests were allowed—including a long message on a screen in a central rotunda between two Christmas trees. Police from several cities, and Minnesota State Patrol troopers blocked access to the mall’s east rotunda, where the protest was to take place. Many stores also closed their security gates—some with shoppers inside. Four people were arrested for trespassing or disorderly conduct during the mall protest, according to local police. The phalanx of riot clad police who confronted protesters were a fine example of why this place is called the Mall of AMERICA.

One of those arrested was a relative of Jamar Clark who was active in the encampment and is active in the ongoing battle for justice. At the Mall, he was targeted by the police who surrounded him, grabbed him, and called out his full name. He was thrown against a wall, handcuffed until his wrists bled, and taken to another jurisdiction where he was cavity searched, and booked in front of other cops who were applauding, and asking “Isn’t that Jamar’s cousin?” He told a local newspaper “This is something that’s got to have some type of awareness to it. People have to see that this shit actually exists.”

From the Mall, protesters quickly traveled by light rail to the airport where they blocked entrances at both terminals chanting “No justice, no peace! Prosecute the police!” And, “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” Eight more people were arrested at the airport.

The actions sparked heated controversy at the mall on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, and at the airport—where parts of the terminal were temporarily shut down and flights delayed. Many shoppers and travelers felt compelled to line up one side or the other. Channel 11 news featured a European tourist complaining that the protesters didn’t think his life mattered since they disrupted his family’s vacation plans. Interestingly, a white news reporter covering the story responded “but not all travelers responded so coldly,” and his report followed with an interview with a white traveler who expressed support for the protesters: “We’re not free if people can’t enjoy a free life in our society, if people can be gunned down, or arrested and never come back just because of the color of their skin.”

Organizers said terminals at the airport were also blocked in part to “protest Islamophobia and anti-Black racism in airport policing.” This has important significance given the intensifying attacks on, and ratcheted up repression against anyone who appears to be Muslim.

After the protest, organizers announced, “We will continue to protest until we get justice for Jamar Clark, until the tapes are released and the rest of our demands are met. We will not give up and we will not give in. Until there is justice, there will be no peace. 2016 is coming, so are we.”


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