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Minneapolis crews work to reopen George Floyd Square, activists close it again



City crews returned early Tuesday at the Minneapolis intersection, where a monument to George Floyd was erected after his death last year and is working to reopen it by removing debris and makeshift barriers just so activists can barricade the area again. .

Workers using wheel loaders and brooms arrived shortly before 5 a.m. and cleared the intersection where Floyd, unofficially known as George Floyd Square, was killed, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. The intersection has been closed to traffic since Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, and some residents and businesses have expressed disappointment that it has been closed for so long.

Last Thursday, city crews removed concrete barriers blocking traffic on 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, but community activists quickly erected makeshift barriers and resumed chanting the name of the Black Man whose murder intensified the racial movement.

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The vehicle travels on Chicago Ave.  S. Near E. 38th St.  at George Floyd Square, Tuesday, June 8, 2021, in Minneapolis, after city crews returned to GFS to remove debris and barriers for the second time in an attempt to open the intersection to traffic.  (David Jolles / Star Tribune via AP)

The vehicle travels on Chicago Ave. S. Near E. 38th St. at George Floyd Square, Tuesday, June 8, 2021, in Minneapolis, after city crews returned to GFS to remove debris and barriers for the second time in an attempt to open the intersection to traffic. (David Jolles / Star Tribune via AP)
(AP)

As soon as the workers left the area on Tuesday, activists returned, again blocking traffic with parked cars, trash cans, road signs and other items in a repeat of last Thursday’s scene.

The bow of the square came organically in the days after Floyd’s death. As people gathered to express their grief and anger, community members set up makeshift barricades to block traffic, which the city eventually replaced with concrete ones.

Community members gathered in George Floyd Square to demand justice for Winston Boogie Smith Jr. on Monday, June 7, 2021. Smith was fatally shot by members of a U.S. Marshals Task Force.  (AP Photo / Christian Monterrosa)

Community members gathered in George Floyd Square to demand justice for Winston Boogie Smith Jr. on Monday, June 7, 2021. Smith was fatally shot by members of a U.S. Marshals Task Force. (AP Photo / Christian Monterrosa)
(AP)

Mayor Jacob Frey and other city leaders have promised to reopen the intersection, but activist leaders have said they will not back down unless the city meets their 24 demands. Among them: call the district attorney, fire the head of the state investigation agency, and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on job creation programs, fighting racism, and supporting affordable housing.

City officials did not immediately respond to an e-mail Tuesday asking for comments from activists who are closing the intersection again.

Danny is seen where community members gather in George Floyd Square to seek justice for Winston Boogie Smith Jr. on Monday, June 7, 2021. Smith was fatally shot by members of a U.S. Marshals Task Force.  (AP Photo / Christian Monterrosa)

Danny is seen where community members gather in George Floyd Square to seek justice for Winston Boogie Smith Jr. on Monday, June 7, 2021. Smith was fatally shot by members of a U.S. Marshals Task Force. (AP Photo / Christian Monterrosa)
(AP)

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in April of manslaughter, third-degree murder and manslaughter for pressing a knee on Floyd’s neck for about 9 1/2 minutes while begging for air.

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Chauvin has also been charged with federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights as well as the civil rights of a 14-year-old child he abstained from arrest in 2017. The other three former Minneapolis officers involved in the arrest and Floyd’s death were also charged with federal civil rights violations. They are awaiting trial in the state court for aiding and abetting on points.


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