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Mpls. Protesters: We Won't Be Overshadowed by Outsiders

Community-based activists say they will continue demanding full justice for George Floyd following his death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. (momsrising.org)
Community-based activists say they will continue demanding full justice for George Floyd following his death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. (momsrising.org)
May 30, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS - State and local leaders called for demonstrations to be peaceful after several nights of chaos in Minneapolis and St. Paul following the police killing of George Floyd. They said some of the violence is the work of outside agitators, while community protesters hope their voices aren't drowned out.

Asking people to follow curfews, Gov. Tim Walz and other leaders said some of the people identified for causing fires and other destruction are out-of-state groups with urban-warfare training.

While that hasn't been verified, community activists, including Raeisha Williams, are urging their groups' members to stay on message in seeking justice for Floyd.

"What we're asking you is not to follow the smokescreen," Williams said. "If you see a distraction, keep following the people that are here leading the way, right?"

Williams and other members of black communities who are protesting claim white supremacists are among the outside agitators.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged on Friday for Floyd's death. Local activists have said they want the other three officers involved in the incident charged as part of their demands for justice.

Before leading marchers over the weekend, Williams said local protesters would never burn down their own neighborhoods, and would instead make their voices heard with messages they have been shouting for years: "What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!"

Much of the destruction, including burned-out buildings, has occurred on the city's south side, where Floyd was killed on Memorial Day.

Mike Moen, Public News Service - MN