ICE protesters shut down large stretch of light rail from the airport to Minneapolis

They were demonstrating against ICE deportations.
Publish date:

Update: 10:30 a.m.

The light rail tracks have been cleared of protesters, of whom some 18 have been arrested.

Metro Transit says services are now resuming.

10 a.m.

Protesters sitting on the tracks of the Blue Line light rail service have forced Metro Transit to substitute buses for morning travelers. 

The demonstration is taking place on the tracks in front of the Bishop Henry Whipple Building on the east side of MSP Airport near Fort Snelling, prompting Metro Transit to bring in buses between the Terminal 2 stations and 46th Street in Minneapolis. 

Specifically, there is no Blue Line service at these stations: 

  • Terminal 1 (northbound only)
  • Fort Snelling
  • VA Medical Center
  • 50th St
  • 46th St (southbound only)

People looking to get around near the airport can still use the shuttle train to get from terminal to terminal. 

Protesters are demonstrating against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which has recently stepped up efforts to deport illegal immigrants.

But it has been a source of controversy after several high-profile cases in which it has attempted to deport long-time U.S. residents with American families and no criminal background.

In April, ICE informed a popular professor at Augsburg University in Minneapolis was given 90 days to leave the country. 

Organizations involved in the Tuesday protest include the Minnesota Poor Poeople's Campaign and the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee.

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Tuesday's protest comes just a couple of days after Governor Mark Dayton vetoed a bill that would've increased the penalty for protesters who disrupt traffic on highways, light rail tracks and anywhere on airport grounds. 

One of the main proponents of the bill, GOP Rep. Nick Zerwas, accused Gov. Dayton of encouraging the protests by vetoing the bill, and accused the DFL of catering to "far left/fringe activists."

“Today’s protest is the latest example of why we need increased penalties for those who choose to put the public at risk by blocking highways, the airport, or access to transit," he said in a statement.

"Governor Dayton’s veto of my bill allows for this unsafe, criminal behavior to continue with little more than a slap on the wrist for those who take part. With his veto, the governor aligned himself with fringe activists and encouraged this criminal activity. It’s frustrating to see political pandering take priority over the safety of Minnesotans."

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Stretch of Hiawatha, light rail in Minneapolis closed until further notice

Drivers and rail passengers will have to continue using alternate routes as repairs continue indefinitely on the Martin Olav Sabo pedestrian and bicycle bridge that spans the route. Fox 9 reports crews are still trying to stabilize the bridge. The city's transportation director tells the station that every time workers touch one part of the bridge, something else happens.