Attempting to block #Justice4Jamar protest on December 23, Mall of America sues eight Black Lives Matter Minneapolis organizers.
Minnesota’s Mall of America, where Black Lives Matter activists have held several protests this past year, is suing eight organizers—including Unitarian Universalists—to block them from holding a December 23 “#Justice4Jamar” protest at the mall. The mall is also demanding that each of the organizers immediately announce on social media that the protest is cancelled. Black Lives Matter Minneapolis said in a press release today that the mall’s demands could have perverse consequences for freedom of speech: “If the motion is approved by a judge, activists could face jail time for refusing to make social media posts or send texts in accordance with the demands of a private corporation.”
Black Lives Matter Minneapolis staged an ongoing protest outside a police precinct last month after police shot and killed Jamar Clark. On November 23, five protesters were shot by white men just outside the protest encampment. Police cleared the camp after 18 days.
Update 12.23.15: A judge issued restraining orders Tuesday afternoon against three of the eight individuals named in the mall’s suit, but ruled that Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, as a group, cannot be barred from entering the mall. The judge also rejected the mall’s request to force the eight activists to publish cancellation notices on social media. The protest remains scheduled for today.
Update 12.24.15: A multiracial crowd of hundreds protested at the Mall of America yesterday. When the mall shut down in response, the crowd boarded light rail trains to the airport and temporarily shut down the light rail and the Twin Cities airport. Black Lives Matter Minneapolis organizer Miski Noor called the mall protest a “decoy” for the transit shutdown.
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Christopher L. Walton is editor of UU World. He holds degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of Utah and is a member of the Church of the Larger Fellowship.
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