Southwest High School students lie down at the intersection of 50th and Lyndale before continuing to Washburn High School for a Black Lives Matter walkout and rally. Photo by Rob Olson / Fox 9.
High school students in Minneapolis and St. Paul walked out of class Friday morning to join a May Day rally organized by Black Lives Matter. They marched peacefully through the streets of southwest Minneapolis, chanting and singing, and even staging a brief "die-in" at 50th Street and Lyndale Avenue.
The protest joined a larger demonstration at Martin Luther King Park, then moved down Nicollet Avenue to link-up with another group assembled at Lake Street. Hundreds strong, they marched into downtown Minneapolis for another rally, with police officers clearing the streets for a safe and peaceful demonstration.
'Beautiful step toward justice for Freddie Gray'
The overtones of Baltimore were certainly apparent, with news breaking Friday morning that 6 police officers are charged in the death of Freddie Brown -- a sign to many that protest voices are being heard.
"I think that it's a beautiful step toward justice for Freddie Gray," said Asha Long, who participated in Friday's march. "I do believe that the actions that Black Lives Matter held across the country helped to push that."
Schools support right to assemble
"MPS respects students' First Amendment right to peacefully assemble," the district said in a statement. "We will not discipline students for the act of protesting as long as the protest remains peaceful. However, if students walk out of school, they will not be able to return to the school for the remainder of the day and they may receive an unexcused absence." Full statement below
MOA protesters in court
31 people charged in connection with the Mall of America case made a court appearance Friday morning in Edina, calling for the charges to be dropped. Organizers say the mall worked with Bloomington police prior to the demonstration, including monitoring social media, in a case of "political prosecution."
At Friday's hearing, a Hennepin County judge denied prosecutors' request for a gag order on the Black Lives Matter defendants, and moved future hearings to downtown Minneapolis – a win for supporters who have made two trips to the Southdale courthouse in Edina.
Minneapolis Public Schools statement