Hundreds of protesters were reportedly arrested Wednesday night after marching on Interstate 94 in Minneapolis and obstructing traffic.
According to video from the demonstration, protesters marched through Minneapolis for more than an hour before finally entering the freeway near eastbound I-94 and Riverside Avenue. Law enforcement formed a line across both lanes of the freeway and down the median, effectively surrounding the mass of protesters.
“You are all under arrest. Sit down and do it now,” an officer said through a megaphone. After some initial pushback, the protesters sat down on the freeway and awaited arrest for trespassing and unlawful assembly.
Both Minneapolis police officers and State Patrol troopers were called to the scene. The Minneapolis Police Department first reported around 7:45 p.m. that the area had been shut down.
Eastbound 94 shut down at 35. Stay away from the area please
— Minneapolis Police (@MinneapolisPD) November 5, 2020
“State Patrol troopers are working with Minneapolis PD to arrest protesters who entered the freeway near eastbound I-94 and Riverside Avenue,” the Minnesota State Patrol said on Twitter. “Walking on the freeway is illegal and very dangerous for pedestrians and motorists. We respect the right of everyone to express themselves under the First Amendment, but the freeway is not a place to do that.”
Troopers continue to arrest protestors on I-94 at Riverside Avenue. Walking on the freeway is illegal and very dangerous for pedestrians and motorists. We respect the right of everyone to express themselves under the First Amendment, but the freeway is not a place to do that.
— MN State Patrol (@MnDPS_MSP) November 5, 2020
The march was part of a nationwide effort orchestrated by the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, which put out a call in early October for a Nov. 4 national day of protests.
More than 30 local left-wing activist and labor groups hosted the Minneapolis “protest for a people’s mandate,” as it was labeled on Facebook. Organizers planned to proceed with the protest regardless of the outcome of the election, and despite former Vice President Joe Biden’s lead in the presidential race.
Stores across Minneapolis were boarding up their windows earlier in the week in anticipation of possible looting and violence.
The Minnesota State Patrol said Thursday morning that 646 people were cited and released for “being a pedestrian on a freeway and public nuisance.”
“No force or chemicals were used and no protestors or law enforcement were injured,” the State Patrol said in a statement.