At three sites near and around downtown Minneapolis, activists tried to disrupt Super Bowl festivities on Sunday afternoon by blocking streets, light-rail trains and, briefly, a stadium entrance.
But ultimately, they had little effect on fans trying to make it into U.S. Bank Stadium in time for the 5:30 p.m. kickoff.
At least 40 people strung themselves across the Metro Transit Green Line tracks near the University of Minnesota, blocking the tracks midafternoon for ticket holders using the line to get to the stadium.
A handful locked themselves to each other and to a railing at the station with a U-lock. Police forcibly removed 17 of them after about 90 minutes. No one was injured.
The 17 were cited for unlawful interference with transit, said Metro Transit spokesman Howie Padilla.
The last leg of the Green Line had been shut down to all but fans with tickets, and all fans made it on time, Padilla said.
At the stadium just before game time, a larger group of about 200 took a knee in front of one of the entrances to the security perimeter on Portland Avenue. A short while later, they formed a human barricade around the entry, blocking fans and earning themselves a few pushes, shoves and shouted insults.
The group started gathering at Chicago Avenue S. and E. Franklin Avenue in the bitter cold at 3 p.m. to march to the stadium. Organizers wanted to include a vehicle caravan to follow the marchers and verbally sparred with Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo when he and other officers told them that couldn’t happen.
Arradondo twice returned to the protesters, bringing a box of hand warmers. He said it was important for police to recognize the group’s right to free speech.
A coalition of 30 groups, including the Anti-War Committee, Black Lives Matter, local unions and Women Against Military Madness, organized the rally to protest police brutality, racism, corporate greed and President Donald Trump.
After an almost 90-minute rally, the group headed toward downtown and the stadium, with police squads, bicycle cops and rally security keeping traffic away.
“There are black men and women, brown men and women,” said Kim Handy Jones, whose son Cordale Handy was killed by St. Paul police in March 2016. “How can you ever be unarmed when the color of your skin is the weapon they fear?”
PAT PHEIFER, LIZ SAWYER, ERIN ADLER