Activists Again Use Cars, Trash Cans to Barricade George Floyd Square After Crews Clear Area

In a repeat of Thursday's actions, Minneapolis activists used cars, trash cans and other items on Tuesday to barricade George Floyd Square after crews cleared the area to reopen it to traffic, the Associated Press reported.

The memorial for Floyd is located on the intersection where he died after former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin put a knee to his neck. On Thursday, concrete barriers blocking traffic placed by the city for the memorial were removed by city crews. Afterward, activists put up their own barriers.

"The City's three guiding principles for the reconnection of 38th and Chicago have been community safety, racial healing and economic stability and development for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and other communities of color," Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and two city council members said last week in a statement about the intersection.

"We are collectively committed to establishing a permanent memorial at the intersection, preserving the artwork, and making the area an enduring space for racial healing," the statement added.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

George Floyd Square in Minneapolis
People gather at George Floyd Square in the evening after the removal of barricades and pieces of memorial on June 3, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Early this morning crews worked to remove barriers blocking road access to the memorial site, which has been maintained by members of the south Minneapolis community since George Floyd was murdered there last year. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The memorial to Floyd was assembled after his death last year.

Workers using front-end loaders and brooms arrived just before 5 a.m. and cleared the intersection where Floyd was killed, which is informally known as George Floyd Square, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

The intersection has been closed to traffic since Floyd's death on May 25, 2020, and some residents and businesses have expressed frustration that it has been closed for so long.

Last Thursday, city crews removed concrete barriers that blocked traffic at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, but community activists quickly put up makeshift barriers and resumed chanting the name of the Black man whose killing galvanized the racial justice movement.

The tribute at the square sprang up organically in the days after Floyd's death. As people gathered to express their grief and anger, community members set up makeshift barricades to block traffic, which the city eventually replaced with concrete ones.

Frey and other city leaders pledged to reopen the intersection, but activist leaders have said they won't step aside unless the city meets their 24 demands. Among them: recall the county prosecutor, fire the head of the state's criminal investigative agency, and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on programs to create jobs, combat racism and support affordable housing.

City officials didn't immediately respond to an email Tuesday seeking comment on the activists closing down the intersection again.

Former Minneapolis police officer Chauvin was convicted in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for pressing his knee against Floyd's neck for about 9 1/2 minutes as he pleaded for air.

Chauvin has also been indicted on federal charges alleging he violated Floyd's civil rights, as well as the civil rights of a 14-year-old he restrained in a 2017 arrest.

The three other former Minneapolis officers involved in Floyd's arrest and death were also charged with federal civil rights violations. They await trial in state court on aiding and abetting counts.

Citizens Gather at George Floyd Square
Community members gather in George Floyd Square to demand justice for Winston Boogie Smith Jr., on Monday, June 7, 2021. Smith was fatally shot by members of a U.S. Marshals task force. Christian Monterrosa/AP Photo