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Crowd protests Black Lives Matter court case; HS students stage walkout

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Crowds gathered and hundreds of students walked out of school Friday to protest the prosecution of Black Lives Matter members who organized a demonstration at the Mall of America.

Scores of protesters rallied outside of the Hennepin County Courts in Edina Friday morning, where 11 members of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis had a court hearing over their involvement in the peaceful protest at the megamall in December.

And at 10 a.m., students from several high schools in Minneapolis staged a walkout, before marching to a rally and barbecue at Martin Luther King Jr. park in south Minneapolis, which started at noon.

They then marched into downtown Minneapolis, where they met with people marching for International Workers' Day.

There were also holdups at the Nicollet intersections with 50th and 46th as marchers made their way to the park.

While outside the court, protesters were informed of the decision by the Baltimore state's attorney to proceed with prosecutions of several members of the police force over the death in custody of Freddie Gray, which sparked widespread rioting in the Maryland city.

Upon hearing this, the Minnesota crowd was said to have "gone wild."

The news came two days after Black Lives Matter held a march through downtown Minneapolis in solidarity with Freddie Gray, which was attended by around 1,500 people.

KARE 11 reports several pretrial and trial dates were set at the hearing, and that the defendants were greeted by cheers when they exited the building.

The Star Tribune reports that the City of Bloomington, prosecuting the protesters, had attempted to put a gag order on the defendants to stop what it called "a substantial and ongoing media blitz."

But Judge Peter Cahill said: "Everyone has a First Amendment right to speak, and I'm not going to put a gag order on it. there are cases of community interest and there will be community discussion."

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