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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Hundreds of “Black Lives Matter Minneapolis” protesters marched through the streets of downtown Minneapolis Wednesday to support those in Baltimore who were speaking out against the death of Freddie Gray.
The Twin Cities group first started protesting after the events in Ferguson many months ago. On Wednesday, police shut down streets and the Hennepin Avenue Bridge as about 800 protesters walked from Gold Medal Park west along Washington Avenue and north on Hennepin.
Protesters crossed into northeast Minneapolis just after 8 p.m., with the marchers gathering near 2nd Street for a concert by rapper Brother Ali.
They shouted “no justice, no peace, prosecute the police” and demanded justice for Gray and for black lives everywhere.
The march lasted for about three hours and had a clear message: Black Lives — and all lives — matter.
The rally was called “Minnesota Rise Up And Shut it Down With Baltimore,” and it came two days after riots broke out in Baltimore following the funeral of Gray, 25, who died earlier this month from a spinal cord injury he sustained while in police custody.
There were people young and old, and of all races, rallying Wednesday night.
“It’s imperative to understand when we lose a life to police, it affects all of us,” organizer Mica Grimm said. “Police are out to protect every single citizen, not just certain ones.”
A casket carried by protesters led the March. Others made signs showing their support for Baltimore and their demands for change.
“It’s not just up to protesters to change,” Kai Wilson of Minneapolis said. “It’s up to all of us individually to look back about what we’re doing and reflect on the kind of society we’re living in right now … because it’s not the country I want to live in.”
Police never got involved other than shutting down streets to keep the marchers safe.
This isn’t the first time this group has rallied together.
“Black Lives Matter” is the same organization that demonstrated inside Mall of America on Dec. 20, 2014 to protest the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York.
The protesters briefly shut down the mall on one of its busiest shopping days of the year.
There is going to be another rally Friday morning at the Edina courthouse, where 36 protesters from the Mall of America rally will be in court.
Earlier in December, “Black Lives Matter” caused a closure of Interstate 35W just outside of downtown Minneapolis. Demonstrators marched up the interstate to Minneapolis City Hall.