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Black Lives Matter protest centers on MSP airport

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We will be posting regular updates on the Black Lives Matter protest at the Mall of America – refresh the page to check for updates.

4:30 p.m.

It started with a protest at the Mall of America and swiftly moved to the airport, but all seems to have returned to normal for the moment so our updates are ending, though you can obviously a read a recap of the events as they happened below.

Thanks for reading – and a Merry Christmas to one and all.

We will also follow up on the fallout as it emerges, with at least a few people arrested this afternoon.

4:15 p.m. – Blue Line runs again

Transportation is getting back on schedule. The Blue Line trains are cleared and back to serving all stations.

Inside the mall, things are looking pretty normal.

3:50 p.m. – All is quiet

'Tis two nights before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse.

There are few new developments, though there's still a heavy police presence at Mall of America transit station.

Elsewhere, people who took part in the protest have been saying that the quick exit from the Mall of America (they were there about 5 minutes) and subsequent move to the airport was the plan all along.

3:30 p.m. – Airport/Light rail update

Things are getting back to normal at Terminal 2, though there are still a couple of issues with the light rail south of Fort Snelling, with southbound Blue Line trains only going as far as 28th Street, not the full way to the Mall of America.

All is normal north of Fort Snelling though.

3:15 p.m. – The fallout

Protesters have got onto the train and it's left the station. No word yet as to where they're being taken.

The protest seems to have passed its peak and now people are just dealing with the knock-on effects, which mainly concerns those traveling on the light rail or heading to MSP Airport – particularly Terminal 2.

This tweet suggests it's had an impact on inbound planes as well.

3:05 p.m. – Train picks up protesters

A Blue Line train is arriving at Terminal 2, and The Star Tribune is reporting that any protester who doesn't get on is being threatened with arrest.

There are still traffic problems getting to the airport

3 p.m. – Delays on light rail south of Fort Snelling

Southbound Blue Line trains aren't running southbound right now.

2:55 p.m. – Protesters moving out of terminal

Protesters are making their way out of Terminal 2, followed by police, and appear to be heading back towards the light rail.

There's a heavy police presence at the airport.

Things are quieter at Terminal 1 – and at the Mall of America.

2:50 p.m. – Arrests at Terminal 2/Update for passengers

Things got a bit heated at Terminal 2 and it's led to some arrested, two people having been detained according to reports.

The Star Tribune's Ben Garvin caught some of the altercation on camera.

Meanwhile, some significant news for Sun Country and Southwest passengers.

2:45 p.m. – Protest still going on at Terminal 2

While the roads are slowly reopening, there is still protesters inside Terminal 2, who are chanting in front of police. Numbers have grown, supposedly because protesters from Terminal 1 have made their way over.

Terminal 2, by the way, is where airlines Condor, Icelandair, Southwest and Sun Country are based, according to the MSP website.

2:35 p.m. – Roads to terminals reopen

Looks like drivers can at the very least get into Terminal 1 and 2– no word on getting out – albeit traffic is moving very slowly.

Needless to say, not everyone is overjoyed at having airport access blocked – hopefully it hasn't affected too many travelers.

2:30 p.m. – Routes to both Terminals blocked

Roads into both the Lindbergh and Humphrey terminals at MSP Airport have been blocked by the protest, which is causing huge tailbacks.

Protesters are assembled outside terminals 1 and 2.

2:20 p.m. – Meanwhile, back at the mall

Some protesters stayed behind at the mall, moving outside the east entrance and police have now followed. Officers have formed a cordon outside and are ordering protesters to leave the property.

Inside, though, it sounds like normal service is resuming.

2:15 p.m. – Traffic problems at MSP

The arm-linking across the road approaching the airport is having a knock-on effect, with police warning drivers:

The airport itself has issued a warning for passengers:

This is bad for anyone traveling for Christmas today, considering MSP Airport tweeted this earlier on.

2:10 p.m. – Protesters at the airport

There was a standoff at the airport with police negotiating with protesters trying to get inside Terminal 1. Some of them appear to be leaving now, though their destination is unclear.

Protesters are at Terminal 2 as well.

And now there are traffic problems outside the airport according to the

">Star Tribune's Ben Garvin. The cause could well be this Black Lives Matter Minneapolis video.

1:55 p.m. – Protesters at MSP Airport and outside mall

MPR's Mukhtar Ibrahim is with some of the protesters who have got off the light rail and made their way to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where they are met by a line of police.

Others have continued their protest outside the Mall of America as the snow falls in Bloomington, suggesting that the demonstration has splintered – either by accident or design.

1:50 p.m. – 'As American as apple pie'

This guy at the mall wins the prize for the most patriotic justification for protesting – speaking to KARE 11's Ben Garvin.

1:45 p.m. – Protesters going on a trip?

It's unclear at this stage whether all the protesters have joined in with the swift exit from the mall and onto the light rail (which presumably would address the private v public property issue).

Nonetheless police continue to advance on the East Rotunda, funneling the crowd through the mall, with all people told to vacate the east side of the mall.

1:40 p.m. – Police advance on Rotunda. BLM in transit station

A live feed of the mall from Unicorn Riot shows riot police are moving in on the East Rotunda, following warnings over the PA system that protesters face arrest.

The question is whether any are still there, with many appearing to have made their way to the transit station – where they are chanting "Black Lives Matter."

1:35 p.m. – Mall goes into 'lockdown'

An announcement comes over the public address system urging shoppers to take shelter, with police stepping up their presence.

And now, the protesters are being told to make their way OUT of the mall toward the light rail station.

1:30 p.m. – The protest begins

The action appears to have begun, albeit quietly, with demonstrators starting with a silent protest as they walk around the mall.

Only a minute into the protest, one person is detained by security and pulled away from the demonstration.

1:20 p.m. – Crowd building in East Rotunda

A sizable crowd is in the East Rotunda, where the protest is expected to be centered – though it's hard to tell at this point how many are protesters and how many are shoppers, or members of the media.

The Star Tribune's John Reinan has given a rough estimate of 600 people in the area, while MPR and KARE reporters have tweeted images from the scene

There's also no way into or out of Nickelodeon Universe from the East Rotunda.

1:15 p.m. – Impact on business?

It's the day before Christmas Eve and any disruption is likely to have an impact, particularly if stores are going to close temporarily. And with many other major malls dotted around the Twin Cities, have some decided to go elsewhere?

Police meanwhile have been taking precautions ahead of the protest, searching bags of people entering the mall. K-9 officers are also at the scene, keeping their nose to the ground for anything suspicious.

1:05 p.m.

The protest is drawing interest from Christmas shoppers at the mall – not all of whom are aware it was planned – but measures have been taken this year to stop them crowding around guard rails.

The demonstration is due to get underway at 1:30 p.m.

1 p.m.

Here's some background as to why BLM is protesting and their list of demands.

Their main cause is protesting against the death of 24-year-old Jamar Clark in November. He was shot dead by police responding to a call he had assaulted a woman.

One of their main demands is the release of video evidence taken at the scene. They believe he was handcuffed when he was shot – police say he was not.

The mall has a sign up warning protesters of the legal ramifications of taking part in the demonstration – they put up a similar sign during last year's protest as well.

The mall is designated private property, and mall officials have warned protesters face removal and arrest for trespass if they don't leave when asked.

12:45 p.m. – Stores start shutting down

There had been talk on the #BlackXmas2 Facebook page earlier that some stores had planned to temporarily shut down in anticipation of the protest – and it looks as though some of them may well be doing that.

The Star Tribune reports the stores near the main rotunda in the eastern part of the mall are shutting down, reportedly at the request of the mall itself.

12:40 p.m.

There are no signs of protesters gathering at this stage, but police are walking the mall. They have a fair bit of ground to cover, as the mall's website says each of its three levels has a walking distance of 0.57 miles.

Black Lives Matter has sent out text alerts to those taking part warning them not to use the public WiFi at the mall, as they have information that suggests authorities will use it to track those tweeting about the demonstration.

12:00 p.m.

Authorities and Mall of America officials are preparing for a protest by Black Lives Matter supporters Wednesday afternoon.

The Minneapolis branch of the national organization is expected to push on with a protest the day before Christmas Eve – expected to be one of the busiest shopping days of the year – despite warnings of legal consequences from the mall.

Potential protesters have been warned that the mall is private property, something that Gov. Mark Dayton reiterated at a press conference Wednesday morning.

Those taking part in a #BlackXmas demonstration – set to start at 1:30 p.m. – will be asked to leave, and face arrest for trespassing if they don't.

Dayton said that 30 Minnesota State Patrol troopers will be involved in the policing effort, assisting the Bloomington Police Department who will be leading the response.

WCCO reports BLM activists expect hundreds of protesters to be involved in the demonstration. The group is continuing its calls for "justice" over the death of 24-year-old Jamar Clark at the hands Minneapolis police in November.

The mall filed for a restraining order against BLM Minneapolis that would have prevented the group from carrying out the protest, but a judge rejected most of it on Tuesday. The judge did agree to ban three members of the organization, though.

The judge also reiterated that the mall is private property and protesters could be arrested should they take part, the Star Tribune reports.

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