Society

Black Lives Matter Protests Briefly Shut Down Mall, Airport, Highways in Minneapolis And California

| by Nik Bonopartis
Black Lives Matter Protesters Pictured Leaving The Mall Of America In Minneapolis.Black Lives Matter Protesters Pictured Leaving The Mall Of America In Minneapolis.

Black Lives Matter activists got the public's attention during a series of coordinated protests -- but they also drew the public's ire by shutting down a mall and a freeway, and creating chaos at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport during the height of the holiday travel season.

The biggest disturbances were in Minneapolis, where about 80 stores were closed in the Mall of America, the country's largest mall, on Dec. 23, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, ABC News reported. Police arrested four people at the mall and expelled the protesters, allowing the stores to reopen within about a half hour.

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But the same group of protesters, joined by others, took their cause to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where they successfully blocked access to a terminal for a short time before they were dispersed, according to The Associated Press. An airport spokesman told AP that about 100 protesters were able to get inside, where they disrupted security lines for about 45 minutes.

Other protesters were able to temporarily shut down some of the roads leading to the airport.

The disruptions to airport security checks caused delays for travelers flying on Southwest and Sun Country flights, airport spokesman Patrick Hogan told ABC News.

The group was calling attention to the police shooting of Jamar Clark on Nov. 15. Clark, who was arrested in connection with a domestic violence incident, was shot as he was lying on the sidewalk.

Witnesses said Clark was handcuffed and wasn't moving when cops shot him; Minneapolis police dispute that version of events, and say Clark was not handcuffed. Missouri's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has taken over the investigation, and the city's mayor has asked the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to conduct its own investigation, according to The Atlantic.

In California, protesters were rallying to call attention to the Dec. 2 shooting of Mario Woods, who died after police shot him with at least 15 rounds, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Eight people were arrested after protesters there briefly shut down an exit ramp off Highway 101, the California Highway Patrol told the Chronicle.

Protesters said they weren't deterred, and said shutting down stores and airports was part of their goal.

"When you disrupt their flow of capital ... they actually start paying attention," Minneapolis protest organizer Kandace Montgomery told the Daily Mail. "That's the only way that they'll hear us."

Sources: San Francisco Chronicle, ABC News, BBC, Daily Mail, The Atlantic / Photo credit: Black Lives Matter MPLS via Daily Mail