MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Police arrested more than a dozen protesters who shut down part of Minneapolis’ light rail system Tuesday while calling attention to federal immigration deportations and raids.
The morning demonstration was part of a national movement known as the Poor People’s Campaign, which aims to highlight issues including racism and poverty. Organizers say they hoped the disruption would shut down immigration offices in a nearby federal building.
Demonstrators sat cross-legged on the light rail tracks near Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, shutting down service and some nearby roads for over an hour. They waved signs reading “no more deportations” and called for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to be abolished.
“I’m feeling energized,” said Daniel Romero who was among those who were arrested. “We are stopping ICE for one day.”
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Metro Transit spokesman Howie Padilla confirmed that 18 people were arrested for trespassing. He said trains began running shortly after the arrests were made. Buses had been shuttling light rail passengers around the protest.
The sit-in comes after efforts at the state Capitol to toughen penalties for protesters who block highways, public transportation or airports. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the proposal, which would have increased the maximum penalties to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.
The Democratic governor said he supported stiffer penalties for highway and airport protests, but argued the bill’s language for transit disruption were “unacceptably vague.”