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Defying new restrictions, 400 rally to defend OccupyMN

Largest crowd in weeks to sleep in plaza in defiance of new county ban
By Brad Sigal |
November 14, 2011
Read more articles in
March on Nov. 14 to defend OccupyMN
Above:
March on Nov. 14 to defend OccupyMN (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Carpenters Local 322 member speaks Nov. 14
Michelle Sommers, President of ATU Local 1005 speaks Nov. 14
Sam of OccupyMN speaks at Nov. 14 rally
Darryl Robinson of Communities United Against Police Brutality
Upper right:
Carpenters Local 322 member speaks Nov. 14 (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Upper left:
Michelle Sommers, President of ATU Local 1005 speaks Nov. 14 at People's Plaza (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Lower right:
Sam of OccupyMN speaks at Nov. 14 rally (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Lower left:
Darryl Robinson of Communities United Against Police Brutality speaks at Nov. 14 rally at People's Plaza (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Minneapolis, MN - About 400 people rallied at People’s Plaza and marched through downtown Minneapolis on November 14 in defense of OccupyMN. After the march they returned to the plaza and filled it with blankets and sleeping bags for a mass ‘sleep-in’ in defiance of Hennepin County’s new rules banning sleeping in the plaza. As of 10:00 p.m. the County authorities have not moved to clear the plaza.

The new rules which go into effect today were passed at the County Commissioners’ meeting last Tuesday in response to OccupyMN’s occupation of Hennepin County Government Plaza since October 7, which the protesters renamed “People’s Plaza”.

The new restrictions include the ban on sleeping in the plaza, no hanging or posting of signs on the plaza, and no porta-potties on the plaza except at the discretion of the County Administrator. The porta-potties which had been there since October 7 are no longer there. The commissioners passed the new restrictions unanimously.

According to Deb Konechne of the Minnesota People’s Bailout Coalition, who co-emceed today’s rally, “The new rules are an eviction notice, and people won’t accept them. Tonight we can see that more people are occupying the plaza to speak out against corporate greed and injustice, regardless of whatever new restrictions on freedom of assembly Sheriff Stanek may have gotten the commissioners to pass.”

The rally featured many speakers vowing to defend people’s right to continue the occupation of People’s Plaza. Union leaders that spoke included Cliff Poehler of AFSCME Council 5, Javier Morillo of SEIU Local 26, Michelle Sommers of ATU Local 1005, Donnie McMillan of Carpenters Local 322 and Kieran Knutson of the IWW. Some of the people who have been sleeping out at the plaza since the beginning spoke about the need to continue the movement. Several individuals and organizations from the community vowed to defend the occupation including Darryl Robinson of Communities United Against Police Brutality, community activist Mel Reeves, Polly Kellogg of Women Against Military Madness, Linden Gawboy of the Welfare Rights Committee, Jennie Eisert of the Anti-War Committee, among others.

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