Black Lives Matter protesters shut down mall, airport

Black Lives Matter protesters shut down Mall of America and Minneapolis airport after the killing of Jamar Klark, 24

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Black Lives Matter protesters chant slogans at the Mall of America light rail station in Bloomington, Minnesota December 23, 2015

Black Lives Matter movement protesters on Wednesday held protests in the Mall of America and Minneapolis airport to rally against recent killings of unarmed black men and women.

They briefly shut down the famous mall and blocked traffic at Minneapolis airport as part of daily demonstrations following the killing of Jamar Clark, 24, who is believed to have been handcuffed when he was shot dead by the police on November 15.

The movement dubbed the protests "Black Xmas," as they coincide with the Christmas shopping season, in an attempt to increase the impact and visibility of the protests.

"Instead of buying gifts to fuel this system, Black Xmas is a day of action," Black Lives Matter said in a statement. 

"There will be no business as usual until we get accountability for our dead, and justice for the living." 

The mall earlier tried to get a court order to block protesters from holding demonstrations in the property but failed.

The police escorted the protesters outside the mall, following warnings issued by the Mall that “[the] demonstration is not authorized."

At Minneapolis airport, demonstrators linked their hands to block traffic.

The airport closed some checkpoints "to prevent protesters from gaining access to secure areas."

Over the past few years, killings of unarmed black men and women in encounters with police in the United States have sparked nationwide protests and incited a national civil rights movement called Black Lives Matter.

The killing of Klark also brought about protests and dozens of arrests.

After the incident, protesters demanded the authorities to release video footage of the shooting.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Superintendent Drew Evans explained that there was no video of the incident from police dashboard or body cameras except footage from business and security cameras in the area and witnesses’ cellphones. He said investigators are watching them but none of those videos captured the entire incident.

The footage will not be released because it could taint witness interviews, said Evans.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said that Clark was a suspect in the incident, adding that an altercation occured between him and the officers before he was shot in the head.

Both officers have been placed on administrative leave. After they are interviewed by investigators, their names will be released, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension reported.

TRTWorld and agencies