MINNEAPOLIS, MN – The Minneapolis memorial site for George Floyd has reportedly been turned into a so-called “autonomous zone” where police are not allowed to enter, according to reports. The barricaded intersection, which is known as George Floyd Square, was created by activists in the wake of the 46 year-old’s death while in police custody last May. However, recently, a militant-style group has taken over the blocks surrounding the memorial – located in an abandoned Speedway gas station – by setting up barricades and not allowing police to enter.
The situation is said to be “volatile” and even other protestors are said to be unwelcome in the “autonomous zone” according to local Minneapolis resident Kim Griffin.
“The situation at the memorial, from what I understand, is it’s kind of volatile,” she said. “People that want to go and support doesn’t feel a sense of inclusion. There is more of a like militant-type atmosphere over there and a sense of fear.”
According to reports, the militant activists running the zone have refused to allow police to enter, even in cases of robbery and murder, leading to cops in many instances avoiding the area altogether. Griffin’s nephew, Imez Wright, was shot to death in the zone on March 6, but the militants controlling the area blocked police from responding and potentially saving his life, she said.
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“Police were not allowed to get into that area,” she said. “Which is an atrocity because his life was taken, and I mean who knows whether or not he would have survived had things been different.”
During a recent on-site report by NewsNation Now, journalists were accosted during a live broadcast by two masked activists dressed in black who said “You’re going to be in a bad situation in a second.” When the reporter informed them they were the media, they responded by saying “I don’t give a f**k who you are. You need to get in your car and go.”
Local officials have stated that they intend to do away with the autonomous zone once the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin is over. Jury selection is currently ongoing for Chauvin, who is accused of killing Floyd by allegedly kneeling on his neck for over 8 minutes – but the militants running the area have stated they will not leave unless a series of 24 demands are met.
This mirrors a similar incident in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood last summer, where George Floyd protestors rioted and created a self-declared, police-free autonomous zone, maintaining it for nearly a month.