Black Lives Matter Protesters Shut Down Critical Transit Lines In Minneapolis Ahead Of Super Bowl

Eric GayAP Images

According to organizers of a Super Bowl-day Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Minneapolis, they have blocked the flow of light rail traffic at “several critical traffic lines” in the city. The Black Lives Matter protesters, reports KSTP 5, have been joined by several other organizations including the Movement for Black Lives. While it is unknown precisely how many traffic lines have been impacted by the game-day protests, protest organizers claim that their efforts have prevented Super Bowl attendees from being shuttled to the U.S. Bank Stadium.

The transportation disruptions reportedly began at approximately 2:00 p.m. local time, and according to Black Lives Matter and other protesters, their protests are related to the national anthem protests that have dogged the NFL for the last two seasons. Additionally, a statement released by protest leaders Sunday afternoon claim that they are also protesting the “murder of Black people by police,” and the City of Minneapolis’ decision to reserve city public transit lines for Super Bowl ticket holders only.

“Activists are using this moment to stand with athletes who have protested throughout the past two football seasons calling attention to the murder of Black people by police and to the City of Minneapolis’ banning city residents from using public transit without a Super Bowl ticket.”

Organizers of Sunday’s Black Lives Matter Super Bowl protest claim that restricting access to the city’s transit lines is a decision that most heavily impacts people of color.

Representatives for the protesters claim that the Minneapolis transportation disruptions began when dozens of protesters/activists stormed the Stadium Village Green Line around 2:00 p.m. Sunday. Their interference in the flow of traffic stopped the rail service in both directions. According to a spokesperson for the Black Lives Matter protest, some participants have physically chained themselves along the light rail track.

The Green Line is a main source of transit for Super Bowl fans to reach the big game featuring the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.

Despite the concerted efforts of Black Lives Matter protesters, a spokesperson for Minneapolis Metro Transit claims that contingency plans were made to handle disruptions and that it is expected that Super Bowl attendees will make it to the game, provided that they have a ticket to the game.

“We’re more than two hours from the game at this time, and we are confident that all ticketholders will get to the game in time”

Metro Transit has reportedly moved planned “replacement bus stops” and they are advising Super Bowl attendees regarding alternate routes to the stadium. Despite the best efforts of the City of Minneapolis, confusion regarding transportation to the Super Bowl may be unavoidable. And according to activists wearing “You shut us out, we shut you down!” T-shirts, they will continue their protest regardless of efforts to silence their voices and/or get around their disruptions.

Despite the vow of Black Lives Matter and other Super Bowl protesters to cripple transit in Minneapolis and disrupt the flow of ticket holders to the game, arrests have begun. Local news reporters claim that by 4:10 p.m., at least 15 activists had been arrested and removed from the scene. Ironically, detained Black Lives Matter activists were reportedly “loaded on a Metro Transit bus.”

The early afternoon shut down of the Minneapolis light rail was not the only anti-Super Bowl protest planned by Black Lives Matter activists and other organizations. Hundreds of protesters also congregated within blocks of U.S. Bank Stadium and planned to march toward the Super Bowl venue and arrive on-site by 5:00 p.m.

According to organizers of Sunday’s protest, the Super Bowl is a “national security crisis,” and both the NFL and city of Minneapolis’ decision ban non-ticket holders from using the city’s light rail transportation ahead of the game did not consider negative impacts such a restriction would place on “vulnerable communities.”

Leaders call the Super Bowl a “national security crisis” and say that the league and the city have failed to provide resources to vulnerable communities.