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Protest Groups Plan To Demonstrate During Derek Chauvin Trial, Despite Barriers

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Groups from Black Lives Matter to the NAACP say they will be out in full force to protest during the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis cop charged with killing George Floyd.

The city has fortified the area surrounding the courthouse in downtown Minneapolis, but protest groups say the fences and barricades won't keep them away.

"You look at all these barricades, that is the system. Walls will not stop us, fences will not stop us from protesting," Mohamed Ibrahim, deputy director of CAIR-MN, said.

City officials and law enforcement have stressed the security precautions, including the extensive fencing are there to protect not only the trial but the protests. Protest groups say they aren't buying that.

"They are more afraid of the people than they are of police violence. They want to make it seem like the protestors are the problem," Michelle Gross, with Communities United Against Police Brutality, said.

Nekima Levy Armstrong of the Racial Justice Network says racial justice organizations are putting the city and state on notice.

"We are asking the people of this state that call themselves progressives to stand in solidarity with us, to show up when you can when we issue calls to action," Armstrong said.

Investigations of last summer's riots found some of the most violent agitators were, in fact, from out of town and even out of state, something these groups say they have no control over.

"We are going to protect our protests. We are going to do the best we can to ensure the safety of the people who come out to protest," Gross said.

The security presence that is up right now is a fraction of the security that will eventually be downtown. Law enforcement says they plan to ramp us security throughout the trial culminating with closing argument, jury deliberations and then the verdict, when 2,000 National Guard troops and 1,100 peace officers from around the state will be stationed in Minneapolis.

City and county officials say despite the fences there will be plenty of space around the Government Center for protestors. The site of the George Floyd Memorial at 38th and Chicago will also remain open.

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