Protesters Shut Down Highway 35W [Updated]
This morning at rush hour, around 7:50, several dozen protesters climbed onto Highway 35W South at around University Avenue and shut the highway down for around an hour and a half. Police finally cleared the highway and made arrests. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has the story here.
The protesters presumably are affiliated with Black Lives Matter, but based on the photographs, it looks as though most of them were white:
It is hard to think of a worse way to promote a cause than by shutting down a major highway at rush hour. My guess is that most people in Minnesota are not entirely unsympathetic to Black Lives Matter, but this kind of fiasco will erode whatever sympathy exists very quickly. I don’t suppose this morning’s protest was carried out by provocateurs trying to undermine the BLM cause, but that will, in any event, be its effect.
UPDATE: More information has come out about the people who blocked the highway:
A statement issued by Black Lives Matter Minneapolis said the activists on the freeway make up “a coalition of white people and non-Black people of color [acting] in solidarity with the movement for Black lives, condemning the ongoing killings of Black people by police in the Twin Cities and across the country.”
Coalition spokesperson Oluchi Omeoga, who is black, told the Star Tribune later Wednesday, “We really want to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. We are tired of fighting for our rights. We need other people to fight for our rights as well.”
Omeoga described the coalition members as “white allies” of Black Lives Matter and said it is “awesome that nonblack people have stepped up for us.”
I doubt that the motorists who were backed up for four miles found the experience “awesome.”