On December 19, 1998, Governor Arne Carlson topped-off his career with Operation Cold Snap, a brutal assault on Native American and environmental protesters. 600 police and state troopers attempted to end a standoff at the Highway 55 re-route site. Protesters were maced, beaten and thrown in jail.
The re-route is slated to go through a neighborhood where protesters have been encamped since August. Highway 55 expansion is favored by downtown Minneapolis business interests that want to speed up travel to the airport. The area is Mdewakanton Dakota land and a sacred site for the tribe. The tribe will struggle to the end to protect their land. People oppose the loss of housing and a popular wooded area nearby.
For more than 20 years, area residents have resisted the re-route. Residents invited protesters to stay at their homes to help them stop the construction. December 19, the homes were ringed by police and leveled by demolition crews.
The use of such an enormous force to attack the people's movement is rivaled in recent times only by use of National Guards against Austin meat packers and Perpich's assault on small farmers in West Central Minnesota.
Operation Cold Snap proved Arne Carlson's record of betrayal and brutality. Just as he betrayed poor people by cutting benefits and implementing killer welfare laws, he beat down working people with his refusal to raise minimum wages and his cuts in Workers' Compensation. And once again, Arne has betrayed the indigenous people of this state.
It is obvious that Arne and his fat cat corporate buddies will stop at nothing to oppress people. Fight Back! says good riddance to Carlson. We condemn this police action. Victory to the struggle against Highway 55!