As Super Bowl fans made their way to Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium ahead of Sunday evening’s kickoff, protesters began linking themselves together to block a light rail line used to shuttle ticket holders to the big game.
At least 20 protesters, many wearing T–shirts saying, “You can’t play with black lives,” linked themselves together and to the light rail platform at West Bank station, between U.S. Bank Stadium and the University of Minnesota, WCCO Channel 4 News reported.
Service on two of Minneapolis’ light rail lines was reserved for Super Bowl ticket holders only, and the protest forced the local transit authority to provide shuttle buses to bypass the site.
One protester had himself attached by the neck to a steel rail using a U-shaped lock, and one arm connected by a tube to a string of activists standing across the tracks to another protester with a U-shaped attached to a metal pole. Train cars were stationary nearby.
The demonstration was streamed live on the Facebook page of Unicorn Riot, an alternative media organization covering several of the protests throughout the day in Minneapolis. These protests took advantage of global media coverage of Super Bowl LII between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.
“Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud,” protesters shouted as police cruisers stood by.
Some themes of the action included demanding divestment of police agencies, a police hiring freeze, and more investment in communities. Speakers also called for the protection of immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community, and for an end to racism and police brutality.
The newspaper added:
“During this year’s football season, players, and in some cases entire teams, have spoken out against racism, police brutality, and white supremacist violence,” the rally’s Facebook page said. “While Trump and the NFL threatened, silenced, and blacklisted players for speaking out, we support Colin Kaepernick, Michael Bennett, Marshawn Lynch, and all athletes — from the NFL to local high schools — who’ve used their voices to demand justice.
Police were able to clear the demonstration—taking some protesters into custody without incident—about 90 minutes before kickoff.