Occupy MN Movement Plans to Relocate to Loring Park, Peavey Plaza | News
If you thought the Occupy Minnesota movement was done and gone, organizers say they're ready to renew their efforts this spring.
Instead of the Hennepin County Government Center where their movement was based last October, they now plan to camp out in Peavey Plaza and Loring Park. They say they want to move out of the business-like setting of the government center and into the grassy green serenity of a park setting where people come to play and relax.
"They increases visibility," said organizer Sam Richards. "There's more platforms to launch actions from and we just feel it's a good move in general."
They plan to set down roots and set up tents in the park starting this Saturday, April 7th.
But already, there might be a problem. City park officials say no one is allowed in the park between midnight and 6 am with no exceptions. The Occupy organizers seem unfazed.
"This is us exercising our constitutional free speech rights and you know, the right to assemble doesn't end at midnight," said organizer Ben Egerman.
The owner of the printing/stationery/card shop LunaLux, that sits adjacent to Loring Park, says she'll welcome the presence of the Occupy protesters, if they follow the law.
"Our business and other businesses in the neighborhood have certainly been victim of crimes like graffiti and things like that," said Jenni Undis. "So I do hope that having protesters in the park doesn't lead to increases in problems like that."
Occupy organizers also plan to plant themselves in Peavey Plaza next to Orchestra Hall on Nicollet Mall. Unlike Loring Park, Minneapolis police say the group can stay 24 hours, and they can pitch their tents, but they cannot sleep in those tents and they can't put any belongings in those tents.
Will they do it anyway?
"I would be pretty surprised if they didn't," said Egerman.
Those who work, live and attend school downtown are split.
"As long as they don't interfere with the usage of Orchestra Hall they have the right to assemble and to express their views and it wouldn't trouble me," said Ben Hobbins, a law professor at nearby St. Thomas University.
"They should be spending time looking for jobs and trying to better themselves," said Danny Hawkins, a Prior Lake native. "They should make the best of a bad situation instead of sitting and crying about it. I think that's kind of immature."
Bottom line: Occupy organizers say they they plan to live up to their name and "occupy" these two new locations, even if it means being arrested.
Mark Saxenmeyer can be reached at email@example.com