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“Join us at the Mall of America in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter,” read a Facebook invitation to protest a year of police brutality this afternoon at the massive Bloomington, Minn., shopping center that bills itself as “the place for fun in your life.”
“It will surely be a #BlackChristmas,” organizers promised.
Some 3,200 people RSVP’d, and the crowd that turned out succeeded in blocking a large rotunda on the east side of the mall before local police in riot gear forced them into another area. Orwellian warnings to disperse, which probably had something to do with “Super Saturday” being one of the biggest shopping days of the year, appeared on the mall’s digital billboards—these messages were also read over a loudspeaker.
No arrests, violence, or looting has been reported, though a fair amount of consumerism has been disrupted. The Mall of America’s Twitter recount reported and apologized for the “inconvenience” of a partial shutdown.
“We expect the mall security to search people coming in and to stop large groups so we advise arriving without signs and to enter individually or in small groups,” the protest’s Facebook page advised. “Our legal number in case of arrest or violation of your rights is: 612-436-3664.”
Miles Klee is a novelist and web culture reporter. The former editor of the Daily Dot’s Unclick section, Klee’s essays, satire, and fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, 3:AM, Salon, the Awl, the New York Observer, the Millions, and the Village Voice. He's the author of two odd books of fiction, 'Ivyland' and 'True False.'