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Minneapolis rally against Cop City and new 3rd Precinct station for National Week of Action to Defend the Atlanta Forest

By Laci Gagliano

Rally outside former Minneapolis Police Department 3rd Precinct building

Minneapolis, MN – On June 28, the Climate Justice Committee gathered with around 20 community members outside the former Minneapolis Police Department 3rd Precinct building to stand in solidarity with Atlanta Forest Defenders, who called for a national week of action to stop Cop City as intense political repression continues on the frontlines of that fight. The protest also called for a local demand: no new 3rd Precinct building in Minneapolis.

People stood at the intersection of Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenue holding signs that read “Stop Cop City,” “Defend the Atlanta Forest,” and “No new 3rd Precinct.” Representatives from five local justice organizations gave speeches marking the connections between the struggle to defend the Atlanta forest and the struggle against retraumatizing community by rebuilding the 3rd Precinct in Minneapolis, despite overwhelming opposition to both.

Charlie Berg, from Climate Justice Committee, called out the fact that major corporate funders of Cop City have stakes in Minneapolis – and are funding Cop City precisely because of the 2020 uprising that began here.

Joe Vital spoke on behalf of East Phillips Neighborhood Institute about the irreparable harm the colonial systems of destruction have and will continue to inflict on the unceded lands, water, and all other living beings who dwell there. “We know the phrase ‘The borders crossed us.’ And when they crossed us, that changed our relationship with the land, the animals, our kinships to one another, our relationship to free-flowing water and to the trees themselves. We are talking about 381 acres of forest land—and we have to remember it’s all Indian Country.”

Vital continued by drawing a parallel to the local, native-led fight to defend the Roof Depot, which proved how collective organizing can effectively fight the system.

Hannah Jerrie from the Twin Cities Coalition 4 Justice 4 Jamar called out the city of Minneapolis’ attempt to manufacture consent around the 3rd Precinct, and how the power of the state to take away our rights is working exactly as it was designed. Atlanta has continued escalating attacks on protesters, creating trumped-up charges, incarcerating protesters, and otherwise violating freedom of speech – in all the ways the government was designed to do, Jerrie emphasized.

Repping Minnesota Defend the Forest, Griffy Lake put out a call for anyone to join the grassroots movement to defend the Atlanta forest, pointing out that the movement is gaining momentum, thanks to people involved refusing to be quiet and lending their voices and passions. Lake suggested taking part in whatever ways people feel comfortable with, whether that’s offering creative talents, helping to raise bail funds or provide jail support, or even just talking to people in the community about the importance of stopping Cop City, because “resisting one is tied hand in hand with resisting the other.”

Siobhan Moore, a representative of Students for Democratic Society at the U of M, denounced political repression, the destruction of the Weelaunee Forest for Cop City and the proposed new precinct in Minneapolis. Siobhan spoke about their proximity as a student organizer to the state’s attacks on activists, with fellow student activists known as the Tampa 5 currently facing up to ten years in prison for protests in Florida after a brutal arrest.

Finally, a member of Communities United Against Police Brutality rounded out the rally by highlighting the political prosecutions and oppressive tactics that both police and elected officials are using to silence movements like the ones in Minneapolis and Atlanta.

The rally ended with the crowd chanting “Justice for Tortuguita! Justice for the Forest Defenders! Justice for the Tampa 5!”

#MinneapolisMN #PeoplesStruggles #PoliceBrutality #EnvironmentalJustice #ClimateJusticeCommittee #StopCopCity