ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - A spokesman for “Black Lives Matter” announced that a protest designed specifically to disrupt the first Saturday of the Minnesota State Fair will be taking place.
Starting at 11 a.m., protesters will march from Hamline Park down Snelling Avenue, and to the State Fair gates. They’re protesting the fair and St. Paul police shootings.
“When I go there with my family, with my friends, I don’t see people operating those booths who look like me,” Rashad Turner, protest organizer, said. “I see them serving cheese curds or mini doughnuts, but they’re not having that opportunity to be there as a black-owned business or as a minority-owned business.”
That’s why Turner is forming what Black Lives Matter is calling “black fair” -- a protest that will disrupt the drive into the fair on Snelling Avenue, ending at the fair gates.
“We’re going to disrupt it,” he said. “There’s nothing they can do about it. I hope they can understand we’re tired of being killed, we’re tired of injustices.”
The Minnesota State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer says every ethnic group is represented at the fair.
“I do know we have people from every neighborhood from all over that own and operate concessions at the State Fair,” he told Fox 9. “Every ethnic group, every religion, every gender, you name it. They’re all here.”
The general manager said it is a competitive process to become a vender, but that race has nothing to do with it. He then pointed out the short online application.
“It’s incredibly easy to register for space. You don’t have to come to the fair. You can do it online. Anybody can do it. It’s a half page.”
Hammer invited the Black Lives Matter group to apply to operate a booth.
“I mean if that’s in addition to shutting down the fair, I’ll be there,” Turner said. “I’ll man the booth myself.”
In other words, booth or no booth… the protest will go on.
“Our plans are to stay out of the fair, but if we’re met with any resistance or threatened with resistance then we’ll meet them with that same resistance,” Turner said.
Hammer told Fox 9 that the State Fair doesn’t have a plan to deal with the protesters yet. But St. Paul police would likely handle traffic issues, and the state fair police would handle anything inside the fair.