Palpable tension as police and protesters face off in Minneapolis

Around 8pm, when the Minneapolis curfew was supposed to take effect, protesters gathered outside one of the city’s police stations.

The crowd was largely peaceful, many sitting on the ground to show they were there to be seen and not to aggravate.

But as the police started to leave the precinct the atmosphere changed, and the tension was palpable.

One protester yelled for all the white people to get to the front so that they would be the first people seen by the police. “Protect the African Americans here,” she screamed.

But the police had a clear mission to send these people home. During the last few nights, looting, vandalism and arson were visible throughout the city; a distraction from the protesters that have been obeying the rule of law.

Police had a clear mission to send people home
Image:Police had a clear mission to send people home

But local authorities wanted Saturday night to be different, and that meant the police used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear the streets.

The explosions sent protesters running and caused confusion and panic. Groups would then reform further away from the police station as the bangs ended and the gas cleared. This created a game of cat and mouse as the police would then begin to move closer again.

More from Minneapolis

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  • George Floyd death: US police officer charged with murder of black man as protests rage

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But the people who had chosen to defy the lockdown were defiant.

One man told me: “I want to make a change for my people because too long this has been going on and things need to change around here.”

Tensions rose as police left the preccinct
Image:Tensions rose as police left the precinct

Another protester said she was here for the man whose death started this unrest.

“I’m here for George Floyd and my community, my people… we’re starting a revolution right now, we’re going to change everything.”

As the police advanced towards a large gathering underneath a bridge, some people quickly built a barricade from wire fencing and road signs.

But that barrier didn’t stop the officers tasked with emptying the streets from pressing on with their mission. They had been given a clear directive to bring the city at the heart of these protests to order.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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