As Super Bowl fever grips the US, activists are taking the opportunity to highlight their own agenda. On Sunday, dozens of protesters blocked a rail line reserved for Super Bowl ticket holders.
The series of protests, spearheaded by Black Lives Matter, rocked Minneapolis Sunday, as activists seized the occasion to draw attention to a number of causes, ranging from police brutality to corporate greed to lack of support for the poor.
About 30 activists, chanting “Black lives, they matter there,” took part in the blockade of Metro Transit’s Green Line at the West Bank Station. The protesters were clad in black jerseys emblazoned with: “You can’t play with Black Lives.” They formed a human chain and locked themselves to the railing. It took police two hours to clear out the site, cutting protesters free from the fence and clearing the activists.
Videos posted on social media show police loading the arrested activists into a bus. At least 17 people were arrested. Metro Transit spokesman Howie Padilla said it’s unlikely any charges would be brought against them.
"Activists are using this moment to stand with athletes who have protested throughout the past two football seasons calling attention to the murder of Black people by police, and to the City of Minneapolis banning city residents from using public transit without a Super Bowl ticket,” organizers of the protest said in a statement Sunday afternoon.
The Metro Transit sent buses to ferry spectators to the stadium to get around the blockade. In a separate protest, a crowd of some 300 marched towards the stadium. Stopping short of the security gate at the stadium’s entrance, many took a knee honoring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick who first started the practice when he knelt to the national anthem at a 2016 game protesting police brutality.
Protestors are marching from Franklin to Park to 9th to 4th to 5th and will rally at the plaza of US Bank stadium. They'll have speakers and then take a knee and march back. pic.twitter.com/X6i7PQfLU7
— University Chronicle (@UniversityChron) February 4, 2018
During Sunday's game, however, all the players stood up during the national anthem. A day ahead of the Super Bowl, a crowd protested against the Dakota Access Pipeline and also US Bank's funding of the project. US Bank is one of the Super Bowl's main sponsors.