- The Washington Times - Monday, December 21, 2015

The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., has asked a court to keep Black Lives Matter activists from holding a protest at the massive shopping center later this week and has proposed a restraining order that would prohibit demonstrators from discussing their plans on social media.

The Minneapolis chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement announced through its Facebook page on Monday morning that the Mall of America — the largest shopping mall in the United States — has filed a proposal that would not only ensure activists are barred from holding a protest on December 23, but would require organizers to publicly condemn their plans.

Activists had planned to gather at the mall’s East Rotunda on Wednesday afternoon to draw attention to the fatal officer-involved shooting last month that took the life of Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old black man who died following an altercation with the Minneapolis Police Department.

If approved by a Hennepin County judge, activists would be prohibited from engaging, soliciting or encouraging any demonstration on mall property on Wednesday, and also be required to purge details of their scheduled rally from social media.

“Defendants and their agents are ordered to delete and take down any online materials, including posts on Facebook, messages on Twitter and online messages in any other form that solicit or encourage others to engage in any demonstration on MOA Premises on December 23, 2015 or that provide information about the planned demonstration on MOA Premises on December 23, 2015,” reads an excerpt from the proposed injunction posted on Facebook.

Additionally, the mall has asked the court to compel Black Lives Matter to “immediately post” on its Facebook page news that the event scheduled for Wednesday has been cancelled.

Organizers of this event slated for this week have condemned the proposal as “unconstitutional” and said they plan to follow through with their protest.

“The Mall America continues to seek to bar free speech for the community on its premises despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies which it has used to appropriate the traditional public forum in service of its own corporate profit. The Mall of America has now taken the further outrageous and totalitarian step of attempting to control the speech of individuals,” the group said on Facebook.

“Organizers have no plans to halt the demonstration unless authorities release the tapes related to Jamar Clark’s case, prosecute police without a grand jury by special prosecutor and bring federal terrorism charges against white supremacists who shot five protesters during the occupation,” the activists demanded.

Susan Gaertner, an outside attorney for the mall, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press last week that the shopping center is private property and “as such, has a right to prohibit protests.”

Mall of America will continue to prohibit protests on its property, no matter how righteous the cause might be. The mall does this to protect the safety and experience of its guests,” she said.

Around two dozen protesters were arrested at this time last year as the result of a similar rally held at the mall by Black Lives Matter activists to address police brutality.

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