Minneapolis, MN – An autonomous demonstration on International Workers’ Day broke off from a large ‘Cancel Rent’ caravan to show support for essential workers.
Dozens of cars and bicycles drove through downtown Minneapolis in a show of solidarity for striking workers across the world that seek better protections, safer policies, and hazard pay during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We were an autonomous, rowdy, and joyful caravan of both cars & bikes. We went directly to workplaces, instead of asking politicians for empathy & action. We stood in solidarity with ‘essential workers,’ who are the collateral damage sanctioned by lawmakers when choosing to ‘re-open the economy.’ We don’t trust the state to decide what is necessary or safe in the context of this pandemic, or ever.” — Breakaway demo participant
Named ‘Essential Not Disposable’, the May 1 breakaway demo first went to the juvenile detention center to support the imprisoned youth. Participants proceeded then to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Caribou Coffee to show solidarity to essential workers.
‘#EssentialNotDisposable!’, a breakaway demo from the May 1 caravan to the Gov residence showed #solidarity to #EssentialWorkers & to prisoners by demonstrating in front of Whole Foods, Caribou, & Trader Joe’s & also chanting #FreeThemAll outside of the juvenile detention center. pic.twitter.com/qyVLYWEyUy
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) May 2, 2020
“In response to the call from wearetheshutdown.org, we felt that a breakaway from the Cancel Rent demo (the momentum of which is also deeply necessary) allowed us to draw connections between workers striking on the job, and those striking against rent and mortgage payments. We are all choosing to prioritize human life over the economy.” — Breakaway demo participant
The ‘Essential Not Disposable!’ action started around 12:30 p.m., May 1, when it broke away from a large caravan of hundreds of cars that went from Minneapolis to St. Paul to push for a freeze on housing payments during the crisis.
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) May 2, 2020
Similar to actions in Minneapolis and St. Paul on April 8 and April 14, the May Day Cancel Rent caravan targeted U.S. Bank and politicians to demand the cancellation of rent and mortgage payments. The caravan started at U.S. Bank Stadium and went to the Governor’s residence in St. Paul, where we documented live for a period of time.
By the end of the breakaway demo, several Minneapolis police vehicles were following some of the bicyclists from the action. As the demonstrators left downtown, two police cruisers drove the wrong way down a one-way street as well as down a sidewalk in attempts to tail the cyclists.
“We can only rely on each other, and we decide what care looks like. The mutual aid projects and autonomous webs of support we are building will get us through this crisis. We are opening new worlds, not the economy.” — Breakaway demo participant
The breakaway demonstration in solidarity with essential workers, as well as all the other events that day, were organized to coincide with the anniversary of May Day. Socially-distant left-wing demonstrations have been taking place in the Twin Cities since late March; protesters generally have worn face masks and maintained distance apart from each other.
Unicorn Riot's COVID–19 Coverage:
- The Coronavirus Crisis in Brazil – An Interview with EmiciThug - May 22, 2020
- Nurses Picket Over Lack of Protection From Ongoing Viral Pandemic - May 21, 2020
- Mutual Aid to Detained Refugee Women Grows — Coronavirus in Greece Part 3 - May 7, 2020
- Minneapolis May Day Protest Supports Essential Workers - May 2, 2020
- MN Demonstrations, Demands to Free Prisoners Escalate - April 30, 2020
- Denver ‘Clean-ups’ Displace 100+ Unhoused Residents Amid Health Crisis - April 30, 2020
- Worker-Occupied Factory Sends Soap to Refugee Camp – Coronavirus in Greece, Part 2 - April 28, 2020
- A Country Quarantined, Coronavirus in Greece Part 1 - April 25, 2020
- Who’s Calling to ‘Liberate Minnesota’, and Why? - April 21, 2020
- Living with COVID–19 - April 17, 2020
- Philly Mayor and Judges Pressured To Release Inmates From Jail - April 15, 2020
- Calls for Rent and Mortgage Freeze Outside MN Legislature - April 14, 2020
- What Is Coronavirus and How Do Humans Defeat It? - April 10, 2020
- Car Protest Demands Philadelphia Officials Release Prisoners To Save Lives In Pandemic Crisis - April 10, 2020
- ‘Cancel Rent’ Demo Calls for a Rent and Mortgage Payment Freeze as COVID-19 Spreads - April 9, 2020
- Coronavirus in the Caribbean: COVID–19 Update from Puerto Rico - April 2, 2020
- ‘Never Again’ Demo Demands Release of Detainees Amidst COVID–19 Pandemic - March 30, 2020
- South Africa Under Lockdown as COVID–19 Spreads - March 29, 2020
- Providing Mutual Aid Amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic in Minnesota’s Twin Cities - March 27, 2020
- As U.S. Coronavirus Cases Top the World Charts, Minnesotans’ “Stay at Home” Order Goes Into Effect - March 27, 2020
- “Everyone Deserves A Cost-Of-Living Adjustment”: Interview with UCSC Striker Yulia Gilich - March 26, 2020
- ‘Real boog hours’: Neo-Nazi Terror and the Coronavirus Crisis - March 20, 2020
- Coronavirus Concerns End St. Paul Educators Strike, Close Many Public Schools - March 14, 2020
Please consider a tax-deductible donation to help sustain our horizontally-organized, non-profit media organization: