After city employees went to clean graffiti off the streets of Minneapolis, City Council President Lisa Bender allegedly stopped the process. When Bender first heard about the clean-up work being done, she wrote that she assumed the city employees, “were talked into this [cleaning up the graffiti] by the business association.”
In a later tweet, she said that the public works employees “mistook the drive isle” in Minneapolis at the location of the memorial for Winston Smith, for a “public space.”
Update from Public Works: According to PW leadership crews went out to do cleaning & repair in the public right of way and mistook the drive aisle for a public space. There wasn’t a request from the owner or business association as I was previously told.
— Lisa Bender (@lisabendermpls) June 24, 2021
Two city of minneapolis trucks are at Winston Smith’s memorial painting over everything.
The city can’t hide anymore and claim it wasn’t them.
— Alex Beck (@AlexBeck08) June 23, 2021
The second autonomous zone was established in Minneapolis after the death of Winston Smith. Smith was shot by U.S. Marshals after failing to follow their instructions and producing a gun when law enforcement was trying to apprehend Smith due to warrants out for his arrest. Later reports showed that Smith also fired upon the officers.
Activists and protesters blocked streets in Uptown and held the streets for several days. Local law enforcement attempted to take down the barriers on several occasions, only for them to be replaced. A section of street has also become a memorial for Smith, where protesters have left flowers and painted graffiti on the sidewalk, street, and surrounding buildings.
A large section of the alley and sidewalk have been painted red, allegedly to symbolize the blood that the protesters say are on the hands of local law enforcement. The area was painted red again less than 24 hours after public works employees had cleaned up the area.
Other graffiti was also quickly repainted after the city stopped the clean-up efforts.
According to residents of Minneapolis, the section of street that protesters had held in Uptown is currently open for traffic.
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Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun | Star News Network and The College Fix. She graduated with a degree in Communications from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. Send news tips to [email protected]