Minnesota – Demonstrators in Minneapolis made a human chain on Wednesday to protest for Philando Castile’s killing. They blocked all lanes going south of Interstate 35W, at University Avenue. The event extended for 45 minutes. Police have reopened the highway after making some arrests.

Philando Castile, a 32-year-old African-American, was shot to death last Tuesday in Falcon Heights by St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez. Castile’s killing has woken up dozens of protests all over the United States after his girlfriend made a Facebook live streaming moments after the shooting.

Protesters in Minnesota shut down the Interstate 35W, at University Avenue. Credit: Star Tribune

Police officers warned 40 protesters at Interstate 35W to abandon the area and rerouted traffic. Demonstrators were arrested after 45 minutes of the warning. Police said some of them were hitting windows of stopped vehicles.

Protesters were chanting shouts saying: “Who shut this down? We shut this down!” as reported by Star Tribune. Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, an activist movement, said the demonstration was organized by black and white residents from the Twin Cities, St. Paul and Minneapolis.

United States President Barack Obama said last Thursday that Americans “should be deeply troubled” by the shootings of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana. He said the cases will be studied by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The attorney of Officer Jeronimo Yanez said he mistaken Philando Castile for a robber that was being searched by police. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, said he was looking for his wallet while he was shot. Her 4-year-old daughter was inside the vehicle.

The protesters group is called the ‘Coalition to Wake Your Ass Up’

BLMM referred to the group as the “Coalition to Wake Your Ass Up.” It added that protesters condemned “the ongoing killings of black people” by police officers. They were also requesting the dismantling of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD).

Protesters criticized that Castile was shot six times and called for a police reform in Minneapolis and the United States. They also added they that “aggression and force” are not always good for maintaining citizens safe.

The group of 40 people said “real security” can only take place when there are educational opportunities and extended access to health care in the nation. They said “research and their own experience” showed them that aggressive police can make societies “less secure.”

“This group demands the dismantling of the police department, which includes disarming, defunding, demilitarizing, and disbanding police. We believe that security for all of us does not lie in use of aggression and force. We want public education, led by communities, not corporations,” said the group in a statement.

Members of the group allied with BLMM stated that they were not going to speak to the press, according to a statement published on Facebook. The protest has called the attention of social media users. Some said they would have joined the event.

Others said they supported the protest but not the traffic blocking. Local media reported that drivers were stopped for more than 90 minutes. BLMM is currently collecting funds on payPal to support Wednesday’s protest.

Source: Star Tribune