Plans announced for large-scale protest at Chauvin trial
Minneapolis, MN – On February 25, a coalition of more than 20 community organizations held a press conference at the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis to demand justice for George Floyd and to announce the intention to express their First Amendment right to protest on the opening day of the criminal trial of Derek Chauvin on March 8.
Coalition member organizations stand united in calling for the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd and pressing that Chauvin receive the maximum penalty for his crime. The coalition also made demands for government agencies to remove barricades, fences, razor wire and the threat of deploying the National Guard, all of which are seen as means to keep the people away from the center of trial activity and to interfere with the people’s right to assemble and exercise free speech.
The crowd responded passionately to the words of Toshira Garraway, of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, as she spoke of her 11 years as an activist since the murder of her fiancé by police. She said, “They, [the government] value their buildings and want to call out $35 million dollars to protect their buildings when human beings are losing their lives in the middle of the street in the middle of day.” She also declared, “They have stolen something from us that we can never get back.”
Angela Rose from the Minneapolis NAACP reminded reporters and supporters about the core message from the people: “We are here to deliver justice because what we need to see is transformation. We are calling for change. The only way we are going to get justice is for our legislative system, our government, to recognize our humanity. This is human rights issue – the murder of Black people in America.”
People chanted “This is what democracy looks like” and “No justice, no peace, prosecute the police” in between coalition spokespeople from Twin Cities Coalition Justice 4 Jamar, Communities United Against Police Brutality, CAIR-MN, Black Lives Matter Minnesota, Racial Justice Network, Native Lives Matter, Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, Minnesota Workers United, NAACP, Climate Justice Committee, the Anti-war Committee, and MIRAC.
Speakers carried messages that called for justice for all stolen lives, the conviction of all killer cops, dropping the charges against Amina McCaskill and all the MN-646 protesters, community control of the police, and the passage of nine community-supported bills currently at the legislature that would take the first steps toward police accountability in Minnesota.
The coalition plans to hold protests for all key stages of the trial. The Facebook event for the March 8 protest is at https://fb.me/e/3ie1T1oTo