CHICAGO (AFP) - Protesters with the Black Lives Matter movement briefly shut down the Mall of America and blocked traffic at the Minneapolis airport Wednesday (Dec 23) as last minute Christmas shoppers and travellers looked on.
The famed Minnesota mall tried but failed to get a court order to bar the protesters from the sprawling shopping centre - a move activists said only steeled their resolve to disrupt shopping two days before Christmas.
The protest comes with the United States embroiled in an acrimonious national debate about racism and the use of deadly force by police.
Black Lives Matter Minneapolis has been holding daily demonstrations to protest the fatal police shooting of Jamar Clark, 24, who they said was handcuffed when he was shot in the head on November 15.
Four men who police described as racists with anti-government views were arrested after opening fire on the protesters on Nov 24, injuring five people.
Shops began locking up shortly before Wednesday's (Dec 23) afternoon protest was set to begin and security guards searched the bags of people entering the mall, according to images posted on social media.
The mall issued warnings that "this demonstration is not authorised" and that "those who fail to leave the property immediately will be subject to arrest" before police began escorting people out of the building.
"I'm here shopping and I'm being kicked out of #MOA," a white-haired woman who identified herself as kderong wrote on Twitter, also posting a photo of police in riot gear blocking a mall hallway.
Protesters boarded trains to the Minneapolis airport and blocked traffic by linking hands.
Video posted on Twitter showed the demonstrators chanting "if we don't get no justice then they don't get no peace," as snow fell on the road to the terminals.
The airport said it closed some checkpoints "to prevent protesters from gaining access to secure area," and warned travellers to give themselves extra time to make their flights.