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Protesters Shut Down I-94; Multiple Officers Injured

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A group of protesters marched onto Interstate 94 Saturday evening, stopping traffic in both directions.

The protesters came from Gov. Mark Dayton's mansion, where protesters have been gathered for several days following the death of Philando Castile, who was shot by St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop.

"I have a stepson who's a person of color and he's been discriminated against and I'm sick of it," said one protester. "And it's finally time to do something."

The protesters marched north on Lexington Parkway to I-94 around 8 p.m. They entered the freeway near Lexington and marched to the Dale Street exit, where police halted the protest. The highway is closed from Highway 280 to downtown St. Paul.

Police gave protesters mutliple orders to disperse. Police also said they were negotiating with protesters to make "symbolic arrests."

The St. Paul Police Department said protesters shot fireworks at officers and that one officer was injured by the fireworks. Another officer was injured by a glass bottle thrown by protesters, police said. Police said a third officer was injured by a thrown object around 11 p.m. An officer was hit in the head with a rock around midnight, according to police. The extent of the officer's injuries are unknown.

An officer was hit in the head with concrete as well. Police said the concrete may have dropped from the bridge. Around 1 a.m., an officer was hit in the face with a bottle, police said. The St. Paul Police Department said Sunday the officer hit by concrete suffered broken vertebrae.

None of the officers hit by debris or other objects were seriously injured, according to police.

Officers deployed smoke just before 10 p.m. in an attempt to disperse the crowd.

Officers used marking rounds on aggressors who were throwing rocks and bottles, police said. Police also said a Molotov cocktail was thrown at officers. It was unclear if anyone was injured.

A truck with children in it was removed from the freeway, according to St. Paul Police.

Police made arrests, but it is unknown how many people were arrested. Police had pushed most of the protesters off the freeway by midnight.

Around 12:45 a.m. Sunday, St. Paul police said they had begun clearing the debris from the freeway.

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