Fargo, Duluth, Bemidji: Twin Cities protests echo across the region

Protestors pay homage to George Floyd in Duluth
Protestors pay homage to George Floyd with nine minutes of silence Saturday at the civic center in Duluth, Minn. Over 1,000 people gathered at the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial in downtown Duluth and marched to the Duluth Civic Center to protest the death of George Floyd.
Derek Montgomery for MPR News

While the nation’s attention has been focused on the Twin Cities, other Minnesota and North Dakota cities saw protests and enacted curfews on Saturday. 

In Duluth, demonstrators marched peacefully to city hall on Saturday afternoon demanding justice for George Floyd, who was killed in Minneapolis police custody. Some protesters later blocked traffic on Interstate 35 for a time. The city then instituted a 10 p.m. curfew.  

Mayor Emily Larson said at a press conference that the protesters are mostly local and that the curfew was largely preemptive. She added that there would be a curfew tomorrow night as well. 

The demonstration began at the memorial for the 1920 Duluth lynching in which three African-Americans were killed.

A peaceful protest in downtown Fargo became violent this evening after a group of demonstrators began breaking windows and starting small fires in trash cans. They were confronted by a line of police officers in riot gear who fired tear gas at the crowd. Fargo officials announced a 10 p.m. curfew for downtown. The crowd dispersed after 11 p.m.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard in Fargo. Mayor Tim Mahoney said that 200 troops were on their way to the city. In a statement, Mahoney claimed that many of the protestors aren’t from the Fargo area. 

“I’m extremely disappointed that a peaceful protest has turned into a violent confrontation in the heart of our metro,” Mahoney said. “We will restore order to our community to keep our people and businesses safe.”

In Bemidji, hundreds of protestors marched down Paul Bunyan Drive in Bemidji on Saturday toward the police department. The protests were largely peaceful, according to reports on Twitter. But city officials enacted a curfew until 6 a.m.

MPR News reporters Dan Gunderson, Dan Kraker and APM Reports editor Dave Mann contributed to this report.

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