Iron Range protests prompt curfew orders

Protests were held in both Virginia and Hibbing on Sunday, May 31 and both cities have curfew orders in place for Sunday evening.

File: Virginia courthouse.jpg
St. Louis County Courthouse in Virginia (2015 file / News Tribune)

Demonstrations were held in both Virginia and Hibbing on Sunday afternoon in reaction to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd died in the custody of Minneapolis police on Monday, May 25, prompting continued protests in the Twin Cities and across the country over the weekend.

“We all deserve to walk down the street and not fear that we’d get arrested," shouted one protester, garnering cheers and claps from those gathered in a parking lot across the street from Virginia’s St. Louis County District Courthouse. The protest was live-streamed on Facebook.

The protests grew to approximately 150-200 people. The march made its way down South Fourth Avenue, past the Virginia Police Department and back up South Fifth Avenue in front of Virginia High School. As they marched, protesters shouted “I can’t breathe,” “Justice! Now!” and “No justice, no peace,” alternating between the three. The protesters reconvened in the courthouse parking lot to share personal stories, passing around a megaphone in a large group. The group also observed a moment of silence, sitting on the ground, in memory of George Floyd. Protests were still continuing as of 3 p.m.

In Hibbing, protesters planned to meet at the Hibbing High School at 1 p.m. for a "peaceful protest" according to a Facebook event. Due to reports of a police barricade around the school, the protest shifted to City Hall around 2 p.m.

The protests have also prompted both cities to issue curfew orders.


In Virginia, from 10 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday and Tuesday, no travel is allowed on any public street or in any public space, except for people traveling directly to or from work, seeking medical care, fleeing danger or experiencing homelessness, according to a news release issued by Mayor Larry Cuffe on Sunday. Law enforcement, fire and medical personnel, media and other personnel authorized by the city of Virginia are also exempted from the curfew.

"With information from our emergency team and in preparation for potential unrest and the safety and protection of residents and personal property, this temporary curfew is deemed necessary," the news release states.

In Hibbing, the curfew begins at 9 p.m. and will be lifted at 6 a.m. Monday. The only exceptions to the curfew are those going to and from work, according to a release from Mayor Rick Cannata.

Teri Cadeau is a general assignment and neighborhood reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. Originally from the Iron Range, Cadeau has worked for several community newspapers in the Duluth area for eight years including: The Duluth Budgeteer News, Western Weekly, Weekly Observer, Lake County News-Chronicle and occasionally, the Cloquet Pine Journal. When not working, she's an avid reader and crafter.
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