OccupyMN weekend: Tents up, tents down, what’s next?

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Over the weekend, OccupyMN put up tents, police took them down, and one person was arrested. Now protesters say they may move off county property and onto city property — or onto bank property. Either move would mean a switch from the jurisdiction of Hennepin County Sheriff, who ordered the tents taken down, to the jurisdiction of Minneapolis police.

OccupyMN organizers and supporters rallied at the Hennepin County Government Center on Saturday, October 15 for day seven of Occupy Minnesota, a spinoff of the ongoing Occupy Wall Street movement (OWS) which began almost a month ago.

Protestor’s reasons for attending varied, from rising school tuition to unemployment, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan to healthcare, foreclosures and homelessness to defending the private sector — yet a unified, overarching theme remained clear: serious changes to the economical structure need to happen, and they need to happen now.

“I’m so glad to see so many people come out today for so many different reasons,” declared Anti-War Committee (AWC) member, Misty Rowan, at the rally Saturday afternoon.

“I want you all to raise your hand if you have millions and millions of dollars,” Rowan continued to a reaction of laughter, “everybody  else, repeat after me — we are the 99 percent!”

However, the rally’s main agenda was a matter of logistics that day: the protesters needed shelter. They declared the day an international day of solidarity, referring to the erection of tents among several of the current Occupy cities around the world. Over at the south side plaza, Occupy MN protestors placed several tents made of transparent plastic, despite a ban on structures there. From there, a group of roughly 90 protestors linked arms, surrounding the tents in a protective circle, where the focus shifted to hearing the stories of the individual protestors. Their stories can be viewed below. (Video by Gus Ganley)

Hennepin County Sheriff’s deputies make first arrest

Minneapolis resident, Melissa Hill, became the first arrest at the Occupy Minnesota demonstration. Hill was arrested by the Hennepin County sheriff’s department for trespassing and refusal to depart during the rally on Saturday afternoon — a charge derived from a year-long ban she received a few days prior for writing on Hennepin County Government Center property with chalk.

Observers of the arrest followed Hill as deputies escorted her into a back entrance of the Government Center, chanting “Let her go!” and “Shame on you!”

Hill has since been released from custody. Video of the arrest can be viewed below.

Early Sunday morning, officers seize all tents on plaza

As anticipated by the protestors, Hennepin County Sheriff’s officers tore down the Occupy MN tents early Sunday morning, as many of the protestors attempted to sleep. The protesters formed a circle around the tents but were forcibly moved by the officers, who then commenced removing the tents from the property. By 1:30 a.m., all the tents had been seized and confiscated, though no arrests were made.

Video of the tent seizure can be viewed below. (Video by Gus Ganley)

The possibility of erecting more tents was discussed by the General Assembly (GA) of Occupy MN Sunday night, October 16, at a new location just outside of the downtown Minneapolis US Bank.

The new tents will be erected within the next 48 hours, says Occupy MN member, Jason Sparks.

A General Assembly — GA — open to all takes place daily at the Government Plaza at 7 p.m.

(Photos by Kristoffer Tigue)

Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Collaborative.