'Injustice on a Stick' protesters march to the State Fair

Advocacy groups aim to bring attention to racism and police violence.

4:00 p.m.

The "Injustice on a Stick" march has wrapped up, and Minnesotans are responding to the demonstration on social media.

The St. Paul Police Department, which provided officers and squad cars to lead the march and tweeted traffic updates, retweeted a post praising the department for "keeping people safe and traffic moving."

And as the march came to an end, a writer at the scene posted a photo on Twitter that shows some neighborhood kids welcoming protesters with "Thank You" signs.

"Thank you for putting yourselves and the message out there. May you stay safe," one Twin Cities resident wrote on the event's Facebook page. "Wish I could be there, my heart is with you all," another commented.

But not all of the reactions have been positive – just take a look at the comments under the story on GoMN's Facebook page. 

Many people commented that they were upset that protesters chose to block roads and make it harder for families to get to the fair. Some went as far as advocating for protesters to be run over.

2:45 p.m.

The St. Paul Police Department says protesters are no longer blocking traffic near the State Fair. Snelling Avenue has reopened in both directions.

2:15 p.m.

Demonstrators are heading back to Hamline Park.

Police say the march is leaving Midway Parkway and heading southbound on Snelling Avenue. 

That means northbound Snelling is now open for traffic. The southbound lanes remain closed as the march approaches Como.

2:00 p.m.

St. Paul Police are reporting that the march has come to a halt at Midway Parkway and Snelling Avenue. 

Road closures on Snelling will remain in effect, the department says.

A reporter for MPR tweeted a photo that shows protesters blocking the entrance to Gate 5.

WCCO is airing live aerial footage of the protest here.

1:30 p.m.

Protesters are marching to the Minnesota State Fair to highlight racial injustices in local communities.

The "Injustice on a Stick" rally – planned by Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar and other groups – aims to bring attention to racism and police violence in Minnesota and across the country.

The coalition is also demanding that Minneapolis create a civilian-elected council to hold police accountable for officer-involved shootings, the group said in a news release Sunday.

"MPAC’s (Minneapolis Police Accountability Council) goal would be to end the deadly cycle of police violence that's disproportionately perpetrated against Black, Latinx [sic], and working-class people in Minneapolis. MPAC would be comprised totally of civilians and prohibits both current and former police officers from serving on it’s body," the release says.

Other groups participating in the march include Black Lives Minnesota, Antiwar Committee, Minnesota Communities against Police Brutality and New North.

The rally started Sunday morning at Hamline Park, about two miles from the Minnesota State Fair.

The Star Tribune says about 100 protesters heard speeches about the need to recognize people victimized by police before marching north on Snelling Avenue towards the fairgrounds. 

With it being the second-to-last day at the fair, attendance is expected to be very high.

The St. Paul Police Department is asking people to find an alternative route to the fair because marchers, led by the department's squad cars, have shut down traffic on Snelling Avenue in both directions.

This is a developing story – check back for updates.

Previous years

This is the third State Fair-related rally held by advocacy groups in as many years. Previous years, demonstrators interrupted traffic going to the fair.

In 2015, Black Lives Matter held a #BlackFair rally, marching to the State Fair in an effort to call attention to the racial bias of the event organizers.

Last year, there was the "MN State Ain't Fair" rally, which marched from Hamline Park to the Fairgrounds, briefly blocking traffic and entrance gates, to call attention to police shootings.

This year's rally aims to have a similar theme, with the Facebook event saying "the system continues to destroy our ability to have peace, live and thrive," due to police brutality, mass incarceration, corporate violence, institutional racism and capitalism, among other issues.

For more information on the rally, click here.

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