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Bitter denunciations were flowing Thursday as Minneapolis city officials began following through on their pledge to reopen George Floyd Square to traffic. The spot was simply another downtown intersection until Floyd’s death in police custody last May. As protests erupted throughout the city, the area was turned into an impromptu community protest zone, complete with artwork and barriers. Amid concerns from local businesses that they were suffering, city officials had said they would allow the square to remain blocked to traffic only until the end of the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who last month was convicted of murder in Floyd’s death. City crews arrived at the square at 4:30 a.m. to begin taking apart the memorial and its barriers. City officials were working with community representatives to remove items that need to be preserved in some fashion while leaving others as a permanent memorial, said city spokeswoman Sarah McKenzie, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. For example, McKenzie said, a sculpture of a massive fist will remain in the square in a traffic roundabout, but a garden nearby will be removed.

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