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Mall of America fails in legal bid to stop protest

Marketplace Contributor Dec 23, 2015
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The Mall of America has failed in its attempt to have a judge issue a restraining order to stop the organization Black Lives Matter from staging a protest there on Wednesday.

The nation’s largest shopping mall, in Bloomington, Minnesota, wanted to stop protesters from staging the demonstration, aimed at highlighting racial disparities and fatal police shootings. Black Lives Matter called for the demonstration in order to draw attention to the recent fatal shooting of a young black man by Minneapolis police.

The judge did, however, ban three individual activists named in the application from protesting at the mall. One was Miski Noor, a spokesperson for Black Lives Matter. She believes it would have been wrong to ban the organization’s protest.

“Not speaking would be the mall winning, yet again, as corporations and police departments and the institutions collude with one another to silence us,” she said.

A similar protest at the mall during last year’s holiday season drew thousands of people and resulted in dozens of arrests. Retailers reported a sharp drop in sales. Police in riot gear stood guard.

Susan Gaertner, an attorney representing the mall, denied accusations of trying to suppress free speech. She pointed out that the mall is privately owned and not a public space.

“This is not about any objection to the message. It’s just not the place for protests,” she said. 

Organizers said they will go ahead with the demonstration, but it isn’t clear how many protesters will turn up.

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