Jun 4, 2021 - News

Activists push back against attempt to reopen George Floyd Square

Crews clear structures from George Floyd Square in Minneapolis.

Crews clear structures from George Floyd Square. Photo Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

In a surprise move early Thursday, Minneapolis Public Works, accompanied by community group Agape Movement Co., took down barriers and cleared structures around George Floyd Square.

  • The intersection of 38th and Chicago reopened, but only briefly. Activists returned later in the day to put barricades back up.

What's happening: Mayor Jacob Frey said the area will be reopened in phases.

  • "That will take several days in that we recognize that there is still pain associated with this street — intersection, and we want to be working with community hand in hand towards that reconnection itself," he said.

Why it matters: Neighbors and business owners have complained that the closure of the intersection has led to gun violence in their neighborhood and blocked access to their restaurants and stores.

  • But the area where Floyd was murdered has also become a memorial and sacred space for many in the community.

Details: The city appears to be moving forward with the first of the Public Works department's two redesign options for the corner.

  • Crews kept the fist sculpture intact in the middle of the intersection and began building a roundabout around it.
  • That'll make Chicago Ave. a one-way in the block just north and the block just south of the intersection, while keeping 38th a two-way street.
  • This option preserves the memorial area in front of Cup Foods. The other would have moved the fist sculpture, and opened the entire intersection to two-way traffic.

What to watch: Activists and caretakers at the square plan to fight the city from opening the streets to traffic.

  • "Anything that the city brings in here will not stay by the end of the night, I guarantee you," Leon Lyons, of the security company Truth2Enlightenment, told the Star Tribune.

Of note: While Minneapolis police weren't present at the intersection yesterday, multiple people on social media posted photos of officers in riot gear nearby.


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