Hundreds of activists demand dismissal of charges for shutting down I-94

You can almost understand their outrage. After all, Gov. Tim Walz, the Minnesota State Patrol and Minneapolis police have coddled leftist mobs who’ve made a habit of taking their protest du jour off the streets onto Twin Cities freeways at will in recent years.

But when hundreds of activists steered an anti-Trump rally onto I-94 yet again last November, the authorities finally did what they should have done all along and clamped down. What resulted was what one protester claims may be the state’s largest ever mass arrest, resulting in charges against nearly 650 individuals.

Now that some of the accused are being called for trial, the Star Tribune reports that the legal consequences for their recklessness appear to be sinking in.

Activists gathered outside Minneapolis City Hall on Thursday to demand that city officials drop charges, most of them misdemeanors, lodged against more than 600 protesters who were arrested Nov. 4 on Interstate 94 in unrest following the 2020 election.

“We will continue to demand that these charges are dropped,” said David Gilbert-Pederson, who is awaiting his day in court. “And we will continue to do that until all of the charges are dropped, not just against the 646 but for all the people who were arrested for standing up against the murderous police department in this city.”

Protest organizers claim they deserve to get a break from the authorities–again–because they weren’t planning on blocking traffic on the busy stretch of I-94 for much longer. The fact the police actually did what the situation called for and arrested the crowd en masse took them by complete surprise.

The protesters had joined with another demonstration in support of Black Lives Matter and marched together to I-94, leading to the closure of the freeway. Police and State Patrol troopers arrested and released protesters, saying they needed to clear the freeway after traffic was halted. State officials asserted it was illegal for pedestrians to be on the freeway.

But Mohamed Ibrahim, deputy executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said Thursday that the protesters had intended to march off the freeway at the next exit. Before they could leave, he said, officers and state troopers on horseback and in buses surrounded and arrested them.

Their cases are under the jurisdiction of the Minneapolis City Attorney. But just in case City Hall follows through with prosecuting them, the leftists can always circle back to their most powerful enabler in the past–Gov. Tim Walz.

After the November arrests, protesters urged Gov. Tim Walz to intervene. On Thursday, as Minneapolis city elections approach and the arrested protesters receive court dates, Pederson said activists are calling on Mayor Jacob Frey to take action.

“If this was meant to be an intimidation tactic, it is not working,” said Monique Cullars-Doty, representing Black Lives Matter Minnesota and the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar. “There are those of us who have chosen our path and our future, and it may contain more arrests. But we have never seen change without a fight.”

Here’s betting the activists “path” down the road in future protests will not include marching onto the interstates as readily or result in hundreds of arrests. The authorities’ decision may or may not have been meant to intimidate, but it will certainly serve to deter.