The drivers of four vehicles that were believed to be involved in a protest during rush hour on Interstate 94 between St. Paul and Minneapolis have been cited for impeding traffic, the Minnesota State Patrol says.
About 60 vehicles entered I-94 at Marion Street in St. Paul around 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday and traveled about 10 mph down the freeway, blocking all the westbound lanes of traffic, before exiting at Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis, Public Information Officer Lt. Gordon Shank said.
Four vehicles were stopped and cited for impeding traffic and the State Patrol is working to identify other vehicles involved, Shank told BMTN on Friday.
The vehicles were involved in a protest, Shank said, but did not say what they were protesting, noting it's an "open investigation."
Traffic cameras showed people sitting on top of cars waving American flags and flags from the Oromo Liberation Front, a political party by persecuted Oromo people in Ethiopia, the Star Tribune said.
The Twin Cities has the largest population of Oromo people outside of Ethiopia, the Minnesota Reformer reported. This summer, many younger Oromo Minnesotans have been mobilized to protest Oromo oppression in Ethiopia following the assassination of Ethiopian singer Hachalu Hundessa and the police killing of George Floyd.
"The State Patrol respects the rights of citizens to exercise their constitutional rights in a safe manner," Shank said. "Blocking the freeway is dangerous any time of day. Vehicles are traveling at freeway speeds which can increase the chances of significant injuries if a crash occurs."
The minimum speed limit on freeways in Minnesota is 40 mph. State law prohibits motorists from going at speeds that impede or block the normal flow of traffic (that is unless conditions warrant slower speeds). Minnesota also has a "slowpoke" law that was passed last year, which could result in a fine if someone is driving in the left lane and doesn't move over for vehicles traveling faster on roads that have two or more lanes int he same direction.