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Black Lives Matter Mall Protest a “Decoy”

Ahhhh…we see what you did there.

The Mall of America was used as “a decoy” to start a protest that quickly moved to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and blocked a terminal on a busy holiday travel day, one organizer of the demonstration said.

Access to one of two terminals was closed after more than 100 protesters gathered inside and blocked roads leading to the airport Wednesday, airport spokesman Patrick Hogan said. He said the protest caused some flight delays but no cancellations.

Protesters hoping to draw attention to the police shooting last month of a black man in Minneapolis had described in advance their plans to target the mall, but not the airport. They started at the shopping mecca in suburban Bloomington, where there was a heavy police presence, then took a light-rail train to the airport.

“The mall was a decoy,” said Black Lives Matter organizer Miski Noor, who protested at the airport. “I think it was really effective.”

A revised tally showed a total of 12 arrests at both sites, mostly for trespassing or obstruction of justice. No injuries or property damage were reported. The total was initially reported at 15, but Hogan said there were two fewer arrests than thought at the airport and one arrest at the mall was unrelated to the protest.

Officials said that traffic at the airport was back to normal by Wednesday evening and that about 80 stores at the mall were closed for about an hour as officers escorted protesters off the property.

Mike Griffin, who joined similar protests last year, said his flight to Chicago was among those delayed.

“While I’m delayed an hour and half to get back to my family for Christmas, I know there are several black families mourning the loss of innocent black men,” said Griffin, a 29-year-old from Minneapolis. “My mom is a little bit annoyed, but she’s going to see me this holiday season.”