St. Paul, MN – On November 27, the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar Clark organized a rally and car caravan to protest the mass arrests of November 4. The Black Friday protest started in the parking lot of JJ Hill elementary school, where Philando Castile worked before he was killed by police. During a brief rally, participants decorated their cars, then a caravan of 100 vehicles left for the governor’s mansion, by way of the Grand Avenue.
Governor Tim Walz had mobilized hundreds of police from across the state to “teach a lesson” to protesters on November 4 who were part of a national day of protest called by the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. Minneapolis police brutalized supporters, observers and bystanders while state patrol and others spent the six hours arresting at least 646 protesters on Interstate 94.
The car caravan was organized after a week of call-in actions to city and county prosecutors, as well as various politicians, including the governor. The demands for the week included the dropping of charges against all protesters, including Amina McCaskill who was singled out for multiple felony charges for allegedly shining a laser pointer in the direction of police. Organizers also reiterated the demand for community control of police.
The caravan targeted the Grand Avenue shopping district on Black Friday, as well as Summit Avenue, one the highest concentrations of wealthy homes in the city, before arriving at the mansion, getting out of cars for chants, including, “Rain, sleet, snow or shine, protests are not a crime!” and general calls to drop the charges.
Arrestees from multiple organizations spoke, including Chaz Neal, from Red Wing, Minnesota; Kaia Hirt of Minnetonka; Shannon Nordby of Native Lives Matter, Mohamed Ibrahim of CAIR-MN, and Loretta VanPelt, Jae Yates and DJ Hooker of Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar (TCC4J). The rally ended with a dance party that included some of the same songs that had been playing when people were arrested on November 4.
The fight to drop the charges is ongoing. To support the arrestees, sign this petition at https://bit.ly/3lTlKfV
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