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October 14

America Is Canceled: A Report From The Streets Outside Trump’s Rally In Minneapolis

A report back from protests against a Trump campaign rally in Minneapolis, MN on October 10th, 2019.

Night has fallen. Thousands pack the streets in front of the Target Center. The crowd is so thick that moving through it is nearly impossible. Despite this, several dozen people have coalesced around a large black banner painted with the words America Is Canceled! At the end of the block, a squad of police officers stand by.

Before too long, this group of people begins to move, flowing past the police road block and taking the streets outside of the protest zone. Traffic that was already being re-routed to start with is interrupted further. A flare is lit, flooding the street with a red hue.

Passing Hennepin Ave, the crowd grows bolder as traffic cones and metal barricades are dragged into the street. Fireworks are set off. Now in the Nicollet Mall shopping district, stores are spray painted with slogans not just against the bogeyman of Trump or fascism but against the police most of all.

Men’s Wearhouse is one of several stores redecorated. Graffiti reads “Fuck 12.”

Approaching the larger anti-Trump rally back at Target Center, police officers could only watch impotently as the two crowds melt into one another. Despite all of the resources at their disposal for a Presidential visit, law enforcement was completely unable to respond to the raucous breakaway. Without need for confrontation, they were rendered useless. Following the motto of Hong Kong rebels to “be water,” the group slipped past officers with ease.

Refusing to be trapped within the logic of direct conflict with a supposed enemy, the group that broke away from the main rally were choosing to affirm the possibility of a different way of living. Chanting together, moving together, protecting one another—these weren’t acts of pure destruction. The storefront display window was transformed into a canvas. Cones that once designated road work, now were put to a different use in blocking traffic and police. What separated us was appropriated to allow us to be together.

Late into the night, more barricades are repurposed.

This ungovernable sensibility blossomed as the night wore on. Clashes with exiting Trump supporters broke out; their merchandise burned, and some of their vehicles were damaged in various confrontations. Police, when able to respond, quickly became targets themselves. Their incursions into the defiant crowd were met with rocks and bottles. The illusion of control the police maintained had been effectively eroded.

There are those who will seek to label those who took part in this joyful rebellion, and those who will eagerly take on those labels. But the truth is that the crowd’s composition cannot be reduced down to any ideology or demographic. The energy was infectious, bringing together people across all predicates.

Smoke rises above the crowd from a bonfire of Trump apparel.

On October 10th, the police lost control. And in that void, we could glimpse beautiful expressions of joy and revolt.

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