Protesters block traffic at Minneapolis airport

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -- Gov. Mark Dayton says the moving protest that has led to disruptions at the Mall of America and Minnesota's main airport has created a "very, very dangerous situation."

Dayton pleaded Wednesday with protesters aligned with the Black Lives Matter movement to stand down from blocking access to roads and terminal entrances at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

He told WCCO Radio that their demands have been met for thorough state and federal investigations of the shooting of Jamar Clark by Minneapolis police.

The governor says he questions the need for this type of demonstration. Dayton says protesters' call for the release of video footage of the Clark altercation has to wait, so it doesn't jeopardize the integrity of investigation that he says everyone wants.


3:20 p.m.

Arrests have been made at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in connection with a protest causing significant traffic disruptions.

Airport spokesman Patrick Hogan says the arrests came Wednesday, after people protesting at the Mall of America headed to one of the airport's two terminals. He didn't immediately have a number of arrests.

Hogan says traffic backups persist on roads leading to the airport, and that security checkpoints inside the terminal were temporarily closed. He says that was done to prevent protesters from rushing through them and forcing an evacuation of the gate areas.

It's possible that there could be some flight delays to accommodate passengers stuck in security lines when they reopen.


2:40 p.m.

A protest that started at the Mall of America has moved to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where protests have blocked roads.

Airport officials say access to one of two terminals has been blocked by protesters, causing significant traffic backups on nearby roads. Some protesters took a light-rail train to the airport after the mall was closed by police.

Traffic cameras for the state highway department show traffic at a virtual standstill leading to and from the state's main airport. The Mall of America and the airport are only a few miles apart.

Protesters left the nation's largest mall shortly after a rally began Wednesday afternoon, chanting for justice. The protest was organized by Black Lives Matter activists.


1:45 p.m.

Hundreds of protesters are walking out of the Mall of America, chanting, "What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!"

The protesters left the mall Wednesday afternoon and were walking toward a light-rail train station outside the massive suburban Minneapolis mall.

Black Lives Matter activists organized the rally as a way to pressure authorities to release footage of a black man who was shot and killed by Minneapolis police last month.

Dozens of stores closed their security gates ahead of the expected protest, and police were patrolling the area.


1 p.m.

Several stores in Mall of America are closing ahead of an expected protest organized by Black Lives Matter.

More than a dozen stores had shut their gates by early Wednesday afternoon.

Among them were a Starbucks and a Barnes and Noble bookstore. Both stores are near the mall's rotunda, a central gathering point at the massive retail center in suburban Minneapolis.

Managers at both shops directed inquiries to corporate communication offices.


12:30 p.m.

Special staff members are stationed at every Mall of America entrance ahead of a protest expected to draw hundreds of people to the massive mall in suburban Minneapolis.

Black Lives Matter organizers say the Wednesday rally is meant to pressure authorities to release footage of a black man who was shot and killed by Minneapolis police last month.

Specialized event staff members were searching guests' bags at every entrance of the nation's largest mall an hour ahead of the expected protest. Mall security guards have also cordoned off parts of a central mall rotunda.

Mall officials and Bloomington police have declined to explain their security plans. A judge banned three demonstration organizers from going to the mall, but said she couldn't bar other unnamed protesters from attending.


10:25 a.m.

Gov. Mark Dayton says 30 Minnesota State Patrol officers will help handle an expected protest at the Mall of America.

Local Black Lives Matter organizers planned the Wednesday demonstration to pressure authorities to release video footage of a 24-year-old man who was fatally shot by Minneapolis police. Mall officials tried to block the protest, arguing the mall was on private property, but a judge only barred three organizers from attending.

Neither the mall nor Bloomington police have said how they will respond to the demonstration. But Dayton said Wednesday that 30 state patrol officers will be on scene to support local police.

Dayton says he's sympathetic to protesters' concerns, but says the mall is private property.

Black Lives Matter organizer Kandace Montgomery says she expects hundreds of people at the afternoon protest.


1:45 a.m.

Activists are planning a Black Lives Matter demonstration that they say could bring hundreds of protesters to the Mall of America on the day before Christmas Eve.

The protest Wednesday is aimed at drawing attention to the police shooting last month of a black Minneapolis man, Jamar Clark. The 24-year-old died the day after he was shot in north Minneapolis by police responding to an assault complaint.

The mall sought a court order blocking the planned protest. A judge barred three organizers from attending the demonstration but said she doesn't have the power to prevent others from showing up to demonstrate.

A similar demonstration drew hundreds of protesters to the mall last December and forced some stores to close.

Bloomington police have not said what security measures the mall may put in place to curtail the protest.
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