“Self determination for Vietnam and self determination for Cedar-Riverside!”

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Riverside Plaza may spark some controversy now – but it’s tame, compared to the early days.

Star Tribune reporter Steve Brandt recalled reporting for the Minnesota Daily in 1972, when the dedication of what is now Riverside Plaza was met with violent demonstrations. According to the May 10, 1972 Minnesota Daily:

Seventeen persons were arrested Tuesday as dedication ceremonies at Cedar-Riverside Associate’s (CRA) “New Town-in-Town” housing development were disrupted and West Bank traffic stopped by about 600 students and West Bank residents confronting Minneapolis police and CRA representatives …

A leaflet distributed by demonstrators stated in part:

“Secretary Romney is coming to dedicate Cedar-Riverside Stage One. He is not meeting with the people but only with the private investors. We must make ourselves heard. We must have more to say about what happens in our community.”

The Daily reported:

The demands also called for “an end to imperialism here and abroad, self determination for Vietnam and self determination for Cedar-Riverside.”
A North Country Co-op coordinator offered to donate three dozen eggs to the demonstration, triggering a discussion of trashing of property and police.

According to the Minnesota Daily, which editorialized against police brutality at the demonstration, clashes between police and protesters ranged from profanity and throwing marshmallows to rock throwing and blocking traffic, met with police removing badges and beating demonstrators and journalists.

High-rise ghettos or urban villages?
Are the Riverside Plaza and Seward high-rise apartment complexes, home to low-income residents for more than 35 years, “beyond merely shabby” and filled with crime? Or are they “a vital and fascinating mix of cultures … a series of villages in the city with the opportunity to begin life in the United States among one’s countrymen?” Our series highlights concerns and facts, featuring the voices and stories of people who live and work in the communities. Click here for links to all of the articles in the series.