Activists are refusing to leave the so-called George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, demanding the place to remain an “autonomous zone” until local authorities would met their 24 requests, presented on Thursday.
The requests included “accountability and transparency,” as well as “independent investigation” in a number of cases, financing some activities, aimed to “deter violence” and support “Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) businesses located in the George Floyd Square.”
The appeal also claimed to “require law enforcement officers to maintain private, professional liability insurance,” “ban the indemnification of law enforcement officers” and “end qualified immunity.”
Activists also asked to "drop the charges against non-violent protesters from 2016-2017."
The intersection of East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, which has been blocked by protesters and activists for months, remains barricaded and not accessible for cars and police. The corner, where Floyd was suffocated, has become both an improvised memorial and a place for violent protests.
In February, local authorities announced that George Floyd Square would be reopened after Derek Chauvin’s trial as the zone and neighbouring area showed terrifying crime statistics: shootings had resulted in numerous deaths. Mayor Jacob Frey noted that the intersection cannot be allowed to be an "autonomous zone", and he is determined to resume two-way traffic and bus routes after the trial.
The initiative has faced criticism from community activists, who claimed the barricades should remain until the trial of three other police officers charged with Floyd’s death are concluded. They claimed in a tweet, posted on Wednesday, that the zone contributes to the “peace and safety of the surrounding neighbourhoods”.
“Amid ongoing threats of White Supremacist violence, in the absence of justice, the barricades and community structures at 38th and Chicago should remain through the trial of all four officers. It’s problematic to misconstrue police brutality as progress toward racial healing," the statement from community members reads.
It seems that the narrative of needing to reopen couldn’t even wait until the morning.— 38th And Chicago Avenue (@GeorgeFloydSQ) April 21, 2021
We have told the city what justice looks like to us: https://t.co/CWvAVYQ1dm…
Make a couple calls. Numbers and example script below. #NoJusticeNoStreets pic.twitter.com/xuzfle362k
Earlier a poster, installed inside the zone, was seen, containing special demands “for white people in particular,” including a request to “decenter” themselves and “be mindful of whether your volume, pace, and movements are supporting or undermining your efforts to decenter yourself”.
Former police officer Chauvin has faced second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges after he killed black Minnesota resident George Floyd on 25 May 2020. On 20 April the the jury ruled to find him guilty as charged. Chauvin is expected to be sentenced in eight weeks.