Left-wing militants have reportedly turned a memorial site for George Floyd in Minneapolis into a “volatile” autonomous zone — where police and even other protesters aren’t welcome.
The memorial, called George Floyd Square, popped up in the days after the 46-year-old’s police-involved death on May 25 — the catalyst for a global movement against police brutality and racial inequality.
But since then, a militant-style group has taken over the blocks-long site, creating a hostile situation for authorities and protesters alike, NewsNation Now reported.
“The situation at the memorial, from what I understand, is its kind of volatile,” Kim Griffin, a Minneapolis resident, told the outlet. “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.”
Griffin said her nephew, Imez Wright, was gunned down within the zone over the weekend — and that activists blocked cops from responding.
“Police were not allowed to get into that area; he was carried out outside of the zone of George Floyd Square,” she said. “It was made clear law enforcement was not welcome to penetrate that zone, 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.”
NewsNation now reporter Brian Entin was recently reporting from the autonomous zone — which surrounds East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, where Floyd was killed — when he was confronted by two activists dressed in all black.
“We’re media,” Entin said, according to a video he posted on Twitter.
“I don’t give a f–k who you are,” one of the protesters replied. “You need to get in your car and go.”
Those guarding the zone have refused to reopen the area unless the city meets a list of 24 demands — including recalling the county prosecutor and dedicating hundreds of thousands of dollars into fighting racism, supporting affordable housing and creating jobs, the network reported.
The activists want the area to remain closed until trials are held for the three other officers charged in Floyd’s death. Those are scheduled for August.
“The thing about it is that a lot of the different demands are asks from different people, and black folks aren’t monolithic,” said Jeanelle Austin, a leader of the autonomous zone. “So it’s really incumbent upon our city leadership to really look at the needs behind the asks, and really fulfilling those needs.”
But the city has vowed to reopen the zone after the trial for Derek Chauvin — the former Minneapolis police officer charged in Floyd’s murder — wraps up.
City councilwoman Andrea Jenkins said some residents have complained about gunshots and helicopters flying overhead.
She said cops have faced “protests, resistance, opposition” from occupants in the zone, prompting them to avoid policing the area.
Last year, there were 19 nonfatal shootings in the area — 14 of which occurring between May 1 through August 31, NewsNation Now said. There were just three shootings in 2019.
Marcia Howard, a retired Marine who quit her job as a teacher to become one of the zone’s organizers, claimed that cops haven’t been impeded.
“Injustice closed these streets, and only justice can open them back up,” Howard told NewsNation Now.
A similar protest area — dubbed the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ — formed in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood last year. Activists there frequently clashed with police until the lawless zone was dismantled after a month of occupation.