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Protesters took to the streets of Mankato Friday afternoon in reaction to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police earlier this week.
Logan Dahlk, former football player at Minnesota State University, Mankato, created a Facebook event to organize a protest. The protest was scheduled from 3-6 p.m. on the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge in Downtown Mankato.
A large concern of Dahlk was the potential for violence. In the Facebook event description, Dahlk said, “Please do not attend if you plan on bringing violence and spreading the intent of violence.”
Dahlk said he was inspired to organize the protest after hearing Bob Dylan’s song “Hurricane”, a song about a black man who was wrongly accused of murder.
The peaceful protest was met with much support from the community, as people driving past would honk their horns and raise a fist in solidarity with the movement.
After roughly an hour at the bridge, protesters moved to Washington Park, where speakers such as Mayor Najwa Massad spoke to the protesters, saying, “Whether you are black or whether you are Lebanese, we are one family in this town and don’t you ever forget it.”
The crowd then walked a large loop, past the Mankato Public Safety Center, then up Stoltzman Road toward the MNSU campus.
It was at this point when Dahlk had intended to bring the protest to a close, but the crowd decided to continue without him.
Things escalated when protesters then walked back to the Mankato Public Safety Center to continue the protest. Outside the building, the crowd chanted “No Justice, No Peace”, loudly revved motorcycles, and hurled insults at passing law enforcement.
Robert Tolvar, one of the protesters and a Mankato resident, when asked of his thoughts on the protests, said, “We are fed up with the system, we are fed up with these corrupt police officers getting away with whatever they want.”
From the Public Safety Center, the crowd moved onto Highway 169, walking up and down the middle of the highway, blocking traffic unless the drivers honked in support of the cause.
After slightly dispersed protesting throughout Downtown Mankato, protesters reunited for a march down Madison Avenue.
The night came to a head as protesters amassed outside of the River Hills Mall Target. Trash can fires were lit in the parking lot while protesters congregated at the doors of the business. Witnesses said that “between four to six people started throwing stones at the doors” causing the glass to shatter.
Within a minute of the destruction to the entrance of the Target store, police arrived on the scene in order to deescalate the situation, and back people away from the store.
Moments later, the T-Mobile store on Sioux Road was also broken into, leaving almost all the windows broken.
At this point, law enforcement stepped in and dispersed the protest.
People around Mankato tuning into the police scanners for Blue Earth county also received communication from the Minneapolis Police Department, causing confusion as to the level of destruction in Mankato.
Photos by Mansoor Ahmad/MSU Reporter.