Minnesota emerged in 2015 as one of America's biggest hotbeds for political activism. One year ago, Minneapolis' Mall of America was the site of a massive Christmas Day protest by Black Lives Matter activists. Just last month, hundreds of protesters shut down a major freeway and occupied a local police station for days after police shot and killed Jamar Clark, an unarmed 24-year-old black man. After a targeted shooting threatened some of those protesters, they announced their next stop would be Minneapolis' Mall of America on Dec. 23.
But then, the mall sought a temporary restraining order against them.
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On the group's Facebook page, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis announced their intentions:
Although they destroyed our occupation, they will not destroy our spirits. If we don't get justice for Jamar Clark and Black Minnesotans, we will return to the Mall of America.
A year after our first Mall of America action, we have not seen nearly enough progress in our state. Last month, Jamar Clark, a young black man, was shot in the head by police while handcuffed, according to witness testimony, prompting an 18 day occupation of the 4th Precinct that was bulldozed by police.
We have endured an armed white supremacist terrorist attack where five of us were shot; police violence in the form of mace, batons, and less lethal projectiles; over 50 arrests on highway 94 and at the 4th Precinct; and freezing temperatures, to demand justice for Jamar Clark. If it's not clear yet: We won't stop until we get it.
But the mall is trying to take that decision out of their hands. Mall officials are seeking a temporary restraining order against eight activist leaders to stop the planned rally. They also want the group to post a message on its Facebook page announcing the rally's cancellation. In a statement released early Monday, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis called the suit "unconstitutional."
The Mall [of] America continues to seek to bar free speech for the community on its premises despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies, which it has used to appropriate the traditional public forum in service of its own corporate profit. The Mall of America has now taken the further outrageous and totalitarian step of attempting to control the speech of individuals.
The move comes almost exactly a year after about 3,000 activists staged a die-in and practically shut the mall down during one of its busiest shopping days of the year. The action grabbed national headlines and was meant to bring attention to the extrajudicial killing of black people by America's law enforcement. The mall first initiated, and then walked back, an attempt to seek $40,000 in so-called "restitution" from activists.
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During that protest, activists reportedly shouted "we'll be back." But if Mall of America officials have their way, that won't happen.