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Minnesota Capitol closes ahead of pipeline, COVID mandate protests

The measures came as groups opposing Line 3, masking and vaccination requirements, and others prepared to rally at the Statehouse.

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Minnesota officials on June 1, 2021 began to take down a non-scalable fence that has closed off the state Capitol in St. Paul from the public for more than one year. Sarah Mearhoff / Forum News Service

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Capitol building is set to remain closed and access to its grounds heavily restricted ahead of a set of demonstrations there this week.

The Minnesota Department of Administration on Monday, Aug. 23, announced that it would temporarily restrict public access to the Capitol building at the request of the Minnesota State Patrol ahead of large demonstrations on the Capitol grounds.

Several groups had protests and rallies scheduled on the state's public event calendar including a Wednesday "Firelight Camp Walk to the Capitol" aimed at drawing opposition to the construction of the Line 3 replacement pipeline in northern Minnesota. And on Saturday, separate groups are set to demonstrate against masking and vaccination requirements to limit the spread of COVID-19 and in favor of voting rights.

State troopers guarded the doors of the Capitol early in the week and erected barriers to the streets leading up to the building. They also erected a fence blocking access to the building. Members of the public are still able to access the Capitol grounds.

The increased security measures come after the Capitol was shut down to the public for more than a year due to COVID-19 concerns, and later out of concerns for the reactions that could come following the murder of George Floyd. Until earlier this summer, a chain link fence blocked most Minnesotans' entry to the Statehouse.

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Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter @bydanaferguson , call 651-290-0707 or email dferguson@forumcomm.com

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