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Police break up Minneapolis shooting protest encampment

MINNEAPOLIS -- Police early today cleared out demonstrators who had occupied area around a police station for 18 days in protest of an officer's shooting of a young black man.

MINNEAPOLIS -- Police early today cleared out demonstrators who had occupied area around a police station for 18 days in protest of an officer's shooting of a young black man.

Orders to leave were given to protesters at 4 a.m., and police in helmets moved them across the street from the 4th Precinct station as they began loading protesters' tents and other items into city dump trucks.

Minnesota Public Radio quoted Black Lives Matter Minneapolis organizer Michael McDowell as saying police gave protesters 10 minutes to leave.

"There was intimidation, with cops grabbing folks and things like that, but ultimately we were able to get everyone out," McDowell said.

There were eight arrests.

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Up to 100 protesters were camped out when they were removed. No injuries were reported.

Police set up barricades to keep protesters away.

Black Lives Matter officials announced they plan an "emergency rally" at 4 p.m. today at Minneapolis City Hall.

The protest began shortly after 24-year-old Jamar Clark was shot once in the head by a Minneapolis police officer early Nov. 15 when police said he was interfering with ambulance personnel not far from the 4th Precinct station. The Hennepin County attorney's office says in a court filing that the officer is white.

Protesters pitched tents, a travel trailer was brought in, a warming house set up and fires were started for warmth. Scuffles between protesters and police were common early on, but had slowed down in recent days.

City leaders and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison said earlier this week that the encampment needed to end, but Mayor Betsy Hodges gave protesters no deadline.

On its Facebook page, Black Lives Matter called the police action violent and said this afternoon's rally is in response to city officials' "continued brutality against peaceful protesters who have endured a white supremacist terrorist attack, police violence and freezing temperatures to demand justice for Jamar Clark."

While protesters won two of their three original demands -- to release names of police involved in the Clark shooting and to get a federal investigation -- state and federal officials refuse the demand to release videos from the shooting.

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Protesters added to more demands after they began the police station occupation: appointment of a special prosecutor that would not present the case to a ground jury and to "institute a safety plan to protect Minneapolis residents from continued police violence."

Black Lives Matter officials say they "will not be intimidated or silenced."

Silence was one thing that precinct neighbors said they wanted. Some attended a Monday Minneapolis City Council public safety meeting.

Neighbors said the protest, in a residential area, was disrupting their lives.

Also, police have said that the protest has slowed police response times.

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