(C) Reuters. Community members gather after city employees began to reopen George Floyd Square, the area where George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis police custody the year before, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., June 3, 2021. REUTERS/Nicole Neri
(Refiling to correct byline to Nicole Neri, not Peri)
By Nicole Neri and Jonathan Allen
MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) -The city of Minneapolis on Thursday began the process of reopening to traffic the intersection where George Floyd was murdered by a police officer just over a year ago, as crews took down barricades that had stopped most vehicles from passing.
Some activists oppose the reopening of the intersection at Chicago Avenue and 38th Street – closed to traffic since the murder – and were seen arguing with the men moving the concrete barriers. Some activists dragged tables and other makeshift barricades into the street.
The intersection has become known as George Floyd Square. Local activists have erected a towering sculpture of a raised Black fist in the middle of the road, surrounded by small garden planted with flowers.
Mayor Jacob Frey previously said the city would reopen the intersection to vehicles after the trial of Derek Chauvin, the white policeman who was captured on video kneeling on the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man in handcuffs, for more than nine minutes during an arrest on May 25, 2020.
A jury found Chauvin, 45, guilty of murder in April, leading to impromptu street parties at the intersection.
Activists have vowed not to relinquish the surrounding streets until a number of demands are met including reopening investigations into other local Black men killed by police. Some local residents and businesses support the activists, while others want traffic flow to return to normal.
Early on Thursday morning, city workers joined members of the Agape Movement, a local community group that helps provide security in the neighborhood, to move barricades from the roadway, placing them around the signs, flowers and artwork that mark the spot where Floyd died.
Frey, City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins and City Council Member Alondra Cano said in a joint statement that the city’s reopening plans were guided by “community safety, racial healing and economic stability and development.”
“We are collectively committed to establishing a permanent memorial at the intersection, preserving the artwork, and making the area an enduring space for racial healing,” the statement said.
Minneapolis crews clearing intersection where George Floyd was murdered
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