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41 protesters arrested after shutting down I-35W for more than an hour

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Roughly 40 protesters shut down Interstate 35W in Minneapolis for more than an hour during the Wednesday morning commute before being arrested and taken to jail.

The protesters were part of a non-black allies movement called "Wake Your Ass Up Collective" and were demonstrating in response to the recent killings of black men by police, including Philando Castile on July 6, a news release says.

Protesters made their way across southbound I-35W at the Mississippi River Bridge to block traffic just before 7:45 a.m., according to a live stream from independent media outlet Unicorn Riot. The closure backed up traffic for miles.

41 protesters arrested

Forty-one people were arrested and taken to the Hennepin County Jail, according to the State Patrol. The agency said in an email news release they will be "charged appropriately for their actions, which endangered the motoring public."

Black Lives Matter Minneapolis is raising money to help the people arrested pay their bail. For information on how to donate, click here.

Police warned protesters

Law enforcement officials warned protesters around 8 a.m. that if they didn't leave the freeway, they would be arrested, according to a live stream from independent media outlet Unicorn Riot. And by 8:30 a.m., dozens of squad cars arrived at the scene, and officials carrying zip ties began making arrests.

The protesters seemed to be cleared from the roadway before 9 a.m., and officials towed and impounded four vehicles that were used to block traffic, the State Patrol said in the release.

The interstate reopened to traffic around 9:15 a.m.

After the arrests were made, people on University Avenue overlooking the protest chanted in support of the activists.

The closure of I-35W comes days after protesters shut down Interstate 94, demanding justice for Castile and the other black men who have been killed by police recently. More than 100 people were arrested, and 46 people have been charged in connection to the protest that injured five officers.

“The State Patrol supports the right to exercise one’s First Amendment rights, but the freeway is not the place to do so,” Col. Matt Langer, Minnesota State Patrol Chief said in the release Wednesday.

“The closure of an interstate freeway for the purposes of a demonstration is unacceptable. They are used by everyone and are an artery for emergency vehicles. It is illegal to walk on the freeway and blocking traffic is dangerous for both pedestrians and motorists," Langer added.

Rally at Government Center, Star Tribune

The protest on I-35W wasn't the only demonstration Wednesday morning.

Demonstrators rallied in support of Castile outside the Hennepin County Government Center, Unicorn Riot's live stream shows.

By 8 a.m., the rally had moved to the entrance of the Star Tribune building – protesters accused the paper of only taking police accounts of what happened during the incidents over the weekend, the stream shows.

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