Duluth, MN – Antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters temporarily shut down a Duluth City Council meeting on Monday as they loudly objected to the purchase of crowd control gear for the Duluth Police Department.
The shutdown occurred as the Duluth City Council was scheduled to vote on purchase of new protective crowd-control equipment for their police officers on Oct. 22, the Duluth News Tribune reported.
Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and other anti-police protesters set up on the sidewalk of the Duluth Civic Center ahead of the meeting.
When the meeting began, protesters drowned out the business of the council chanting “No Line 3. No riot gear for the DPD.”
The council went into recess after 25 minutes to allow things to quiet down, and then returned and attempted to allow public comment prior to the vote.
But the protesters were having none of it, and attempted to stop any other opinion from being heard
Council President Noah Hobbs tried to get the demonstrators to allow others to comment but his efforts only elicited more chanting and distracting behavior, the Duluth News Tribune reported.
Initially, frustrated councilmembers voted to remove the “riot gear” proposal from the table for the night, but then they changed their minds.
They voted by a show of hands to move forward with purchasing the much-needed equipment for the Duluth Police Department by a margin of 6 to 2, the Duluth News Tribune reported.
Hobbs said the protesters hadn’t influenced his vote, but that he was disappointed they’d prevented other people who attended the meeting from having their say on the matter during the public comment period.
“What is most regrettable is the fact that 50 to 60 individuals didn’t get their three minutes of time to voice their support or their concerns for the agenda item,” Hobbs said.
There were a number of law enforcement supporters present for the meeting, including at least one who was waving a Thin Blue Line flag amidst the black-masked antifa.
Hobbs said there was no point in the council delaying the vote on the equipment, which would still take another month to arrive once it was approved.
“If we did shut it down, we would have had this meeting every day until God knows when,” he said, espousing the view that a delay was only preventing the inevitable.
Protesters launched into chants of “No justice, no peace!” after the city council voted to purchase the new equipment for the police department for about $83,700.
The Duluth branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had expressed concerns about prospect of buying the equipment and requested the creation of a task force.
They also asked the city council to allow a couple of weeks for the Citizens Review Board to analyze the proposed equipment.
Hobbs pointed out that there was no point in delaying the vote given the wide margin by which the proposal passed the city council.