American News Apr 22, 2021 2:59 AM EST

Activists in George Floyd 'autonomous zone' in Minneapolis refuse to leave after Chauvin verdict

Activists in the George Floyd 'autonomous zone' in Minneapolis announced on Wednesday that they are not leaving the area even after the verdict in the Derek Chauvin case.

Activists in George Floyd 'autonomous zone' in Minneapolis refuse to leave after Chauvin verdict
Ari Hoffman Seattle, WA
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Activists in the George Floyd 'autonomous zone' in Minneapolis announced on Wednesday that they are not leaving the area even after the verdict in the Derek Chauvin case.

The autonomous zone was established after the death of George Floyd in May. Gates and jury-rigged barriers set up by activists, enclose 'George Floyd Square,' a four block area from 37th to 39th Streets South and Columbus and Elliott Avenues East, that serves as a memorial in the neighborhood where Floyd died. Concrete barricades were set up by the city of Minneapolis last year to protect activists and serve as barriers for the zone. In September 2020, Minneapolis Police Chief john Elder denied the zone existed to Fox News.

Activists do not allow police inside the zone and have even banned white people from time to time. Neighbors told the Washington Times that they have tried working with protesters, and asked that traffic not be disrupted. Activists allegedly responded with threats. They added that safety concerns have caused people to move out of the neighborhood and pointed to multiple for-sale signs and empty houses nearby.

The Twitter account which claims to post on behalf of the zone posted on Wednesday, "We don’t need the mayor’s permission to make decisions about our city. 38th & Chicago will be held until our demands are met."

Minneapolis officials had previously claimed that they would reopen the autonomous zone after the murder trial of Chauvin. However activists in the zone have issued two dozen demands they say must be met before they will stand down. The demands include investing over $700,000 into the zone.

Neighbors told the Times, that they tried working with protesters, and asked that traffic not be disrupted. Activists allegedly responded with threats. Residents blame gang violence, BLM activists and protests as the primary cause of the unrest and crime.

They added that safety concerns have caused people to move out of the neighborhood and pointed to multiple for-sale signs and empty houses nearby. Social justice-themed yard signs are common in the area with residents struggling to reconcile their beliefs with the rise in violence and decline in quality of life. Businesses have also left the area.

Police are banned from the zone and reporters have been threatened for filming to close to the barricades. The area has been the site of increasing violence and multiple shootings.

Residents blame gang violence, BLM activists and protests as the primary cause of the unrest and crime in the area. According to News Nation, "Violent crime at the intersection and the blocks immediately surrounding it rose dramatically in 2020, though crime also increased citywide. There were 19 nonfatal and fatal shootings in the area in 2020, including 14 shootings from May 1 through Aug. 31. That’s compared with three shootings in all of 2019 and none during the summer months."

Earlier this month, the city of Minneapolis passed a $1 million bailout plan for businesses suffering from inside of the autonomous zone.

According to Fox News, a sign at the entrance of the zone "includes a special set of instructions for white people." white people are asked to "contribute to the energy of the space, rather than drain it." Any "processing" must be brought to "other white folks" so that "BIPOC" community members are not harmed. white visitors who see other white folks doing "problematic things" are told to "speak up with compassion to take the burden (off of) Black folks and our siblings or color whenever appropriate," and "engage rather than escalate, so that it can be a learning moment rather than a disruption."

According to Fox News reporter Matt Finn, there are multiple signs like it throughout the zone.

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