MINNEAPOLIS - Police have arrested 18 demonstrators who shut down part of the light rail system in Minneapolis to protest federal immigration deportations.
Demonstrators sat on the light rail tracks near Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Tuesday morning, shutting down light rail service for over an hour. Metro Transit spokesman Howie Padilla says police arrested 18 people. Trains began running shortly after.
The protest is part of the Poor People's Campaign, a national group focusing on issues including poverty and racial inequity.
The demonstration follows efforts to toughen disruptive protests that block highways, public transit and airports in Minnesota. Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the proposal.
“Today’s protest is the latest example of why we need increased penalties for those who choose to put the public at risk by blocking highways, the airport, or access to transit," said State Rep. Nick Zerwas (R-Elk River), who sponsored the bill to increase penalties against protesters who block people from getting around. "Governor Dayton’s veto of my bill allows for this unsafe, criminal behavior to continue with little more than a slap on the wrist for those who take part. With his veto, the governor aligned himself with fringe activists and encouraged this criminal activity. It’s frustrating to see political pandering take priority over the safety of Minnesotans.”