Demonstrators protesting the death of Philando Castile on Monday briefly stopped traffic outside the Minnesota State Fair.
The group of about 25 people lined themselves parallel to Larpenteur Avenue at Snelling Avenue, blocking the intersection as dozens of cars waited at a standstill for nearly 10 minutes.
Earlier, two groups — Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace and St. Paul Eastside Neighbors for Peace — held a vigil outside the fairgrounds where Castile was fatally shot by a St. Anthony police officer. The shooting of Castile, who worked at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in St. Paul, sparked weeks of protest. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, was in the passenger seat during the shooting and live-streamed the aftermath on Facebook.
For a short time, Castile’s mother, Valerie, and other family members visited with protesters as they have done during other demonstrations.
The crowd of about 50 at the vigil, mostly loud and civil, joined in on chants often led by 6-year-old Guthrie Morgan and 8-year-old Aaliyah Proctor, who were there with their families.
The crowd began walking east on Larpenteur Avenue until they reached the intersection with Snelling Avenue.
“These white groups are against injustice,” said Clifford Dodd, who was selling “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts near the vigil. “They don’t have to come up here, but they are showing they really care, and that they are our allies.”
Emmanuel Kandolo, holding a sign that read “Prosecute the police,” said the community that gathered Monday is strong and resilient, and is not going away.
“We are here so [Castile’s] memory can be honored,” Kandolo said as he walked with the group toward Snelling Avenue.
At the intersection, angry motorists in several vehicles nearly ran down demonstrators as they broke through the human chain.
The group then started walking back to the site where Castile died. They continued chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “No justice, no peace, prosecute the police.”
A second vigil is planned for next Monday.