Several dozen white protesters shut down I-35 West highway in Minneapolis Wednesday morning to demand “the abolition of policing.”
Wednesday’s protests were organized by Wake Your Ass Up Collective, a self-described “group of white and non-Black [people of color] taking action for Black lives.” Pictures from the protest on social media show a group of heavily-white protesters sitting back-to-back in the middle of the highway.
— Alexandra Vagac (@Alley_Cat808) July 13, 2016
“Coalition to Wake Your Ass Up calls for abolition of policing in response to police killings of Black people,” a statement from the group said.
“This group demands the dismantling of the police department, which includes disarming, defunding, demilitarizing, and disbanding police. We believe that security for all of us does not lie in use of aggression and force,” the statement continued. “Real security occurs when all of us have meaningful employment, educational opportunities that help us pursue our own life choices and the adequate healthcare needed to live fruitfully.”
“Funds must be used to create green infrastructure, environments and jobs. Education must not spare us from the reality of American impact on the world and disenfranchised communities in this country,” the statement said later. It then concluded by saying: “As non-Black people committed to highlighting the voices of Black organizers, members of this action will not speak to press. For interviews, please contact Oluchi Omeoga.”
Press statement from BLM Minneapolis on blocking Interstate 35w pic.twitter.com/34Kqx3RtiG
— Jon Collins (@JonSCollins) July 13, 2016
Omeoga is affiliated with the Minneapolis chapter of Black Lives Matter.
Local news stations reported that traffic was backed up for miles by the protesters. Police arrested 41 protesters after traffic was blocked for about an hour, MPR News reported.
I can’t get to a hospital to see a loved one who is getting a very serious surgery this morning cuz of protesters on I-35W. This isn’t ok.
— Bailee (@_baileejay) July 13, 2016
“Black lives they matter here. End white supremacy,” one protester named Alexandra Vagac tweeted. “Start local revolutions & organize love,” Vagac’s Twitter profile reads.
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