Group Demands Disarming Police; Shuts Down I-35W

41 Protesters Arrested for Rush Hour Blockade of I-35W

Fox9.com

A group called “Wake Your Ass Up Collective” has taken credit for the shutdown of southbound I-35W in Minneapolis this morning. The protest, in which protesters called for the disarming of police, resulted in snarled traffic and the arrests of 41 protesters.  T

The group is protesting last week’s police-involved shooting death of Philando Castile and have released a statement with demands that include “the dismantling of the police department, which includes disarming, defunding, demilitarizing, and disbanding police.”

The description of the group on the 24 hour old Facebook page reads: “We’re a group of white and non-Black POC (People of Color) taking action for Black lives.”  The page includes an event announcement of a “Justice for Philando Rally” to begin at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis early this morning.

Wake Your Ass Up Collective Event Announcement
Wake Your Ass Up Collective Event Announcement

Black Lives Matter Minneapolis also posted Wake Your Ass Up Collective’s statement regarding the I-35W shutdown and the group’s “Justice for Philando” event announcement encouraging their supporters to “Wake up early and meet folks downtown!”

Although there were reports that this was not a Black Lives Matter protest, the Wake Your Ass Up Collective’s Press Release (see below) about the I-35W lists Oluchi Omeoga, a Black Lives Matter Minneapolis member as the press contact.  In a Wednesday interview with the Star Tribune, Omeoga said, “We really want to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. We are tired of fighting for our rights. We need other people to fight for our rights as well…it is awesome that nonblack people have stepped up for us.”

Along with demanding the dismantling of the police, the group also states,  “Real security occurs when all of us have meaningful employment, educational opportunities that help us pursue our own life choices and the adequate healthcare needed to live fruitfully. Research and our experience tells us that the vast amounts spent on militarized police make most communities, excluding the very wealthy, less secure. Funds must be used to create green infrastructure, environments and jobs. Education must not spare us from the reality of American impact on the world and disenfranchised communities in this country. We want public education, led by communities, not corporations.”

The Wake Your Ass Up Collective’s Press Release in its entirety:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 13, 2016

Contact: Oluchi Omeoga, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, (651) 307-6760

Non-Black Twin Cities residents shut down 35W bridge in support of movement for Black lives

Coalition to Wake Your Ass Up calls for abolition of policing in response to police killings of Black people.

Minneapolis, MN – 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.

The coalition released the following statement:

“Last Wednesday evening, Philando Castile was shot 6 times. The coalition condemns this violence and believes this shut down reinforces our belief that comfort and business as usual must be disrupted until substantive changes occur in our city and throughout the country.

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. Real security occurs when all of us have meaningful employment, educational opportunities that help us pursue our own life choices and the adequate healthcare needed to live fruitfully. Research and our experience tells us that the vast amounts spent on militarized police make most communities, excluding the very wealthy, less secure. Funds must be used to create green infrastructure, environments and jobs. Education must not spare us from the reality of American impact on the world and disenfranchised communities in this country. We want public education, led by communities, not corporations.

Education and the media has a responsibility to make the citizenry awake to the real challenges so that there are real possibilities for making our society truly just.

We support community-led alternatives, solutions, and programs to protect our communities. On this day, we support the workers attempting to make a living but we also know that sacrifices must be made if we hope to live decently together.”

As non-Black people committed to highlighting the voices of Black organizers, members of this action will not speak to press. For interviews, please contact Oluchi Omeoga.

This is a developing story.  More information will be provided as it comes available.