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Black Lives Matter Protesters Shut Down Light Rail Line in Minneapolis Before Super Bowl

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Photo: KSTP/Dan Jabs Protesters shut down the Green Line at the University of Minnesota's West Bank station.2 / 2

Activists protesting police brutality chained themselves along a light-rail line carrying ticketholders to the Super Bowl on Sunday, halting trains in both directions.

In a release Sunday afternoon, organizers said Black Lives Matter, the Movement for Black Lives and other groups shut down light rail at "several critical transit lines in Minneapolis" starting about 2:30 p.m. It was unclear how many lines were affected. 

"Activists are using this moment to stand with athletes who have protested throughout the past two football seasons calling attention to the murder of Black people by police and to the City of Minneapolis' banning city residents from using public transit without a Super Bowl ticket," which organizers said primarily affected people of color, according to the release. 

About 30 activists walked onto the city's Green Line at the Stadium Village stop shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday, stopping trains in both directions. By 4:15 p.m., about 25 arrests had been made, according to Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington. 

The line runs from downtown St. Paul to the heart of Minneapolis, and is a main way some fans are getting to the game between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.

Chinyere Tutashinda, a spokeswoman for the activists, says some chained themselves along the track.

Metro Transit spokesman Howie Padilla said the agency has a plan in place for handling disruptions, and that such a plan was going into motion mid-afternoon Sunday.

"We're more than two hours from the game at this time, and we are confident that all ticketholders will get to the game in time," Padilla said. 

Meanwhile, the agency says replacement bus stops for both the East Bank and West Bank have been moved. For West Bank, they say eastbound riders should board buses at northbound 19th Avenue just past 2nd Street, and westbound riders should board at southbound 19th and Washington avenues. 

For the East Bank, eastbound riders were asked to board replacement buses at university and 17th avenues, and westbound riders were to board at westbound 4th Street just past 17th Avenue. 

The demonstrators wore T-shirts that say "You shut us out, we shut you down!" to protest the light rail rider ban and to stand in solidarity with undocumented immigrant workers who face potential deportations, the release says.

Officers began arresting protesters on the university's West Bank shortly before 4 p.m., according to a KSTP reporter at the scene. By 4:10, reporter Kirsten Swanson reports, 15 people had been escorted from the scene and loaded onto a Metro Transit bus.

Leaders call the Super Bowl a "national security crisis," and say that the league and the city have failed to provide resources to vulnerable communities.

Black Lives Matter and several other groups planned two separate events and a march Sunday afternoon. About 300 people had gathered at a park a couple of miles south of U.S. Bank Stadium, and planned a march that would have them arrive at the stadium near 5 p.m.

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