MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The protesters, activists and community members who’ve kept watch over the George Floyd memorial site since he died at the hands of Minneapolis police say that the city is planning to reopen the area of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue.
According to the protesters, city employees met with business owners and community leaders last week, explaining that the city intends to remove the cement barricades during the week of Aug. 17. The barricades have been up since early June, blocking all vehicle traffic into the area.
The protesters say they are prepared to maintain the barricades around what they call “George Floyd Square” until the city meets a list of demands.
A document created by the protesters and activists shows a list of 24 demands. They include: holding the trial for the four ex-Minneapolis officers accused in George Floyd’s death; recalling Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman; investing $400,000 in a youth jobs program; and firing four top Bureau of Criminal Apprehension officials, including Superintendent Drew Evans. (The full list of demands can be viewed here.)
If the city does not meet the demands, the protesters say they’ll demonstrate in “every significant neighborhood that is unbothered by the death of George Floyd.”
The National Lawyers Guild of Minnesota says it’s supporting the protesters and their demands.
“Neighbors, youth, and community activists have been tending to this space for months since the police murder of George Floyd in order to keep it a sacred space for the memorial,” the guild wrote on Facebook. “It is inherently a space of protest.”
The effort to clear the area of 38th Street and Chicago comes as the city experiences a sharp uptick in violence, with fatal incidents happening in or near the memorial site in recent weeks. Police have said that officers have been met by “hostile crowds” near the memorial, but protesters dispute that.
Earlier this month, the city’s planning commission voted to commemorate George Floyd on street signs near the memorial. Between 37th and 39th streets, Chicago Avenue will bear commemorative street signs declaring the area George Perry Floyd Jr. Place.
George Floyd died on the evening of May 25 after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes, even as Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. Cellphone video of the fatal arrest sparked protests and riots in the Twin Cities and across the globe, bringing the causes of racial justice and police reform (as well as abolition) to the fore.
Chauvin is facing murder charges. Three other ex-officers are also charged in Floyd’s death.