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Black Lives Matter protesters congest Mall of America, Minneapolis airport

Women at black lives matter protest

Dorret/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed

‘Jamar won’t celebrate Christmas this year, so we shut it ALL down.’

Minneapolis’s Mall of America tried to stop Black Lives Matter from protesting on its private property with a temporary lawsuit and a hearing on Monday. But following the police shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark on Nov. 15, the group’s local chapter moved forward with what is becoming an annual gathering.

This time, the protests reached holiday shoppers and travelers alike.

“Mall of America supports BLM’s First Amendment right to free expression, but courts have clearly ruled that right may not be exercised on private property without the consent of the property owner,” a request for a temporary restraining order read, according to Washington Post. “To protect Mall of America’s guests, tenants, and employees, this consent has not been given, and if BLM holds its demonstration at Mall of America despite the lack of consent, Mall of America will suffer irreparable harm.”

But the demonstration on MOA’s grounds came after a judge only barred three organizers from the local BLM chapter. And the protest snowballed following MOA’s attempts to quell the civil-rights group. Said Black Lives Matter Minneapolis in a press release on Monday:

In an unprecedented attempt at halting a peaceful gathering, the Mall of America has sued 8 activists to compel them to ‘immediately’ post messages on social media and send out a mass text message announcing that the December 23rd event is cancelled… If the motion is approved by a judge, activists could face jail time for refusing to make social media posts or send texts in accordance with the demands of a private corporation.

The judge would deny MOA’s request to have BLM Minneapolis remove social media posts about the demonstration and cancel it. The group’s lawyer argued this would be unconstitutional had the judge agreed at the hearing, according to Chicago Tribune.

MOA sought to avoid the disruption of businesses closing like a year ago during a massive demonstration at America’s largest mall.

This time, according to CBS Minnesota, protesters only occupied the space temporarily before relocating the event and shutting down the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Many boarded buses or trains to the airport after a wall of officers at the mall blocked them, according to ABC News.

According to the airport, protesters caused traffic delays. The airport temporarily closed checkpoints at Terminal  2.

Wednesday’s protest was fueled by the death of Clark. Last year, Black Lives Matter protested police shootings in New York City and the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Photo via Dorret/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed

Deron Dalton

Deron Dalton

Deron Dalton is a social journalist whose work for the Daily Dot focused on police violence, activism, and the Black Lives Matter movement.