Pro­test­ers block trains, march on sta­dium

Kenora Daily Miner and News - - SPORTS - STEVE KARNOWSKI

MIN­NEAPO­LIS — Po­lice ar­rested 17 ac­tivists who blocked a light-rail line car­ry­ing Su­per Bowl tick­ethold­ers to U.S. Bank Sta­dium on Sun­day in a protest against po­lice bru­tal­ity and priv­i­leges en­joyed by wealthy vis­i­tors that shut down trains for more than two hours.

Live video from the scene showed of­fi­cers un­lock­ing or cut­ting through locks the pro­test­ers had used to chain them­selves to each other and to fenc­ing at the West Bank Sta­tion on Metro Tran­sit’s Green Line. The hand­cuffed ac­tivists were loaded onto a wait­ing bus. Metro Tran­sit spokesman Howie Padilla said all 17 were cited for un­law­ful in­ter­fer­ence with tran­sit and re­leased.

Metro Tran­sit used buses to ferry pas­sen­gers around the block­age, and Padilla said the agency was con­fi­dent spec­ta­tors would reach the game be­fore kick­off. The shut­down started about 2:15 p.m., and the stop was fi­nally cleared about two hours later.

Padilla said Metro Tran­sit re­spects peo­ple’s right to free speech and demon­stra­tion.

Chinyere Tu­tashinda, a spokes­woman for the ac­tivists, said they were protest­ing po­lice bru­tal­ity, as well as the light-rail lines be­ing set aside solely for Su­per Bowl tick­ethold­ers on Sun­day. Nontick­ethold­ers had to use buses to get around the metro area in­stead.

The Green and Blue lines were a ma­jor route for many fans to get to Sun­day’s game, with se­cu­rity screen­ing done be­fore pas­sen­gers boarded.

The light-rail shut­down came as Black Lives Mat­ter and sev­eral other groups staged ral­lies to protest po­lice bru­tal­ity and cor­po­rate greed.

About 300 peo­ple gath­ered at a park as tem­per­a­tures hov­ered around -17 C with wind chills in the low mi­nus 20s and marched peace­fully a cou­ple miles to the sta­dium, where most of them took a knee out­side a se­cu­rity gate in imi­ta­tion of Colin Kaeper­nick. The for­mer San Fran­cisco 49ers quar­ter­back started a move­ment when he be­gan kneel­ing dur­ing the national an­them in 2016 to protest ra­cial in­equal­ity and po­lice bru­tal­ity.

“We kneel, we stand, we fight,” they chanted. “If we don’t get no jus­tice, you don’t get no peace.”

DAVID JOLES/START TRI­BUNE/AP

Pro­tester James Franklin, cen­tre, of the NAACP yells en route to U.S. Bank Sta­dium, where an Anti-Racist Anti-Cor­po­rate rally joined with Take a Knee Na­tion on Sun­day in Min­neapo­lis.

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