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Black Lives Matter protest at governor's residence draws smaller crowd

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Black Lives Matter marchers on Grand Avenue
Tuesday's Black Lives Matter march moved down Grand Avenue in St. Paul.
Euan Kerr | MPR News

About 40 Black Lives Matter protesters gathered at the Minnesota Governor's Residence in St. Paul Tuesday night to demand elected officials fix racial inequality.

The protest was a response to Gov. Mark Dayton's remarks last week calling a Black Lives Matter march outside the Minnesota State Fair "inappropriate."

Black Lives Matter St. Paul organizer Rashad Turne
Black Lives Matter St. Paul lead organizer Rashad Turner chants during a march on Summit and Grand avenues in St. Paul Tuesday.
Riham Feshir | MPR News

The group, including children and teens, filled parts of Summit and Grand avenues while St. Paul police stood by diverting traffic. Chants included "Shame on Governor Dayton, black lives are sacred."

"Protesting has happened ever since the '60s," Black Lives Matter St. Paul lead organizer Rashad Turner said. "Or he was just responding because money was on the line? We need him to make a statement, apologize and let us know that people are more important than money."

Dayton was not at the governor's residence at the time of the protest. His office had no comment Tuesday evening.

Last week, Dayton said Black Lives Matter should've met with State Fair officials earlier to express concerns over vendor selection and diversity.

Neighbors and patrons of many Grand Avenue businesses did not interfere with the march. Some passersby nodded in agreement while others shook their heads.

The turnout was much lighter than the march on Saturday, when about 300 Black Lives Matter members protested outside the Minnesota State Fair. That event received social media backlash and a few death threats that Turner said required some response from the governor.

"We need to have people in office who represent the people, not who represent big business," he said. "There is nothing inappropriate about protesting as we have seen throughout history."