UPDATED: Arrests Begin as Protesters Block I-35W

Black Lives Matter Interrupts Morning Commute to Protest Fatal Police Involved Shooting of Philando Castile; Police on Scene, Arrests Being Made.

UPDATE: The original version of this story named the protesters as Black Lives Matter. This story corrects that error and provides the name of the group taking responsibility.

A group has blocked Southbound I-35W into Minneapolis to protest the fatal police involved shooting of Philando Castile. Commuters southbound on I-35W in Minneapolis had their drive come to a standstill this morning as a group of 40-50 protesters shut down the highway around 7:50am this morning.

The Star Tribune is reporting that the protesters used vehicles as well as people, to block I-35W South, causing a miles long traffic jam.  According to the Star Tribune:

According to scanner reports, some were banging on driver’s windows and causing damage.

In a matter of minutes, southbound traffic on the main north-south highway in the state’s largest city came to a halt and started backing up for miles.

In holler and response came the demonstrators’ chant: “Who shut this down?” And the reply, “We shut this down!”

A state trooper arrived about 8 a.m. and notified the protesters that “if you do not leave, you will be arrested. You are being warned.” Several squad cars to the north and south of the protesters have sealed off the lanes.

As of 8:30 a.m., there was no indication that the demonstrators were about to leave, and they have gone from standing to sitting. As an indication, bottled water was being delivered to the demonstrators.

Metro Transit buses have arrived to pick up protesters upon arrest. A trooper told a videographer on the scene that arrests were about to start.

The protesters are stringing themselves across the southbound lanes, holding hands and going through a series of chants, with a man on a loudspeaker leading them.

“The whole damn system is guilty as hell … No justice, no peace, prosecute the police.”

Along with people in personal vehicles being stopped by the protest, Metro Transit bus service is being disrupted.

With 35W backed up to the Hwy. 36 commons in Roseville — roughly 4 miles — motorists are using Hwy. 280 to proceed south. However, road construction on that highway is prompting a massive tie-up there, too.

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UPDATE: A group called “Wake Your Ass Up Collective” have released a statement on Facebook taking credit for the protests, saying ” On Wednesday, July 13, a coalition of white people and non-Black people of color – the Coalition to Wake Your Ass Up – shut down the Interstate 35W bridge in solidarity with the movement for Black lives, condemning the ongoing killings of Black people by police in the Twin Cities and across the country.”

Alpha News is closely following this developing story; more details to come.

 

Updated 7/13/2016 9:19am

Updated 7/13/2016 9:46am