MINNEAPOLIS – Minneapolis city crews returned to George Floyd Square early Tuesday to remove debris and makeshift barriers for the second time in an attempt to open the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue S to traffic.
Crews moved in with front-end loaders and brooms just before 5 a.m. to move objects out of the way.
The effort came after city crews on Thursday cleared away vehicle barriers and portable toilets to reopen portions of the sprawling memorial at the south Minneapolis intersection where George Floyd was murdered by a police officer more than a year ago.
But as soon as workers were finished, protesters began parking cars and piling pallets in the streets again.
George Floyd Square became a primary gathering place for grief and remembrance almost immediately after the 46-year-old man's death under ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's knee.
Chauvin was convicted on one count of second-degree murder, one count of third-degree murder and one count of second-degree manslaughter.
The debate on how or if to reopen the intersection of 38th and Chicago has been playing out for months.
"The City's three guiding principles for the reconnection of 38th and Chicago have been community safety, racial healing and economic stability and development for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and other communities of color," Mayor Jacob Frey, City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins and City Council Member Alondra Cano said in a statement last week. "We are collectively committed to establishing a permanent memorial at the intersection, preserving the artwork, and making the area an enduring space for racial healing."