Occupy protesters return to Minneapolis

11:39 AM, Apr 8, 2012   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - The reoccupation has begun. 

Six months after the movement began, Occupy Minnesota has returned to downtown Minneapolis, this time at two sites: Peavey Plaza and Loring Park. 

There were four tents on Peavey Plaza Saturday evening and four at Loring Park.  Dawn Sommers, spokesperson for Minneapolis Park Police, said at least some of the tents will have to come down when Loring Park closes at midnight.

But Occupy Minnesota says what it is doing is protected by the Constitution so protesters are hopeful they will be allowed to stay.

The group started setting up camp in the rain around noon.  It may have slowed them down a bit, but it didn't stop them.

Angel Buechner of Minneapolis was among the first to camp out when Occupy Minnesota occupied the government plaza last fall.  She was excited to return to the effort today, despite the rain.  She said, "I'm not a rain person.  I'm not a snow person but I'm a Minnesotan so I'm used to it."

Ben Egerman, one of the Occupy Minnesota organizers said, "We wanted to try something a little bit new and we wanted to try out this idea of having two sites.   The hope is we can have more people involved, be more visible, get more people engaged, have more actions if we have two sites running at the same time."

Mary Lynn Murphy of Saint Paul, who has been with Occupy Minnesota since the beginning, said they continued to hold weekly meetings even after they were forced out of the government plaza as winter moved in.  She said, "We did not go away at all.  We are still here and still very, very busy."

The group spent the winter occupying homes, protesting foreclosures. 

They continue that effort, but they're also happy to be back downtown, camping out for their cause.

The protestors come from a variety of backgrounds.  They are angry that one percent of Americans make 23 percent of the wealth.  They call themselves a voice for the other 99 percent.

Mike Murphy of Saint Paul said, "The 'greed is good' mentality has taken over Wall Street to the detriment of all of us.  It takes advantage of us and here we are seniors.  I'm almost 71 years old. And I'm still out here in the rain on this Saturday because I believe if we don't stand up for what we believe in, it's just going to get worse."

By their handmade signs it's evident the protesters aren't just protesting corporate greed.  Some held anti-war signs, others want big money out of politics and some were environmentalists.  Mary Lynn Murphy said all those issues ultimately fall under the same umbrella.

The rain cleared out by mid-afternoon.

Around 4:30 p.m., about 70 occupiers planned to march to the home of a bank CEO.  Their goal was to renegotiate a couple home loans of local residents facing foreclosure.

Upon their return to their camps, they planned a barbeque and a game of catch the flag between the two sites.

While Minneapolis Park Police have made it clear that protesters will be asked to leave Loring Park when it closes at midnight, it's still unclear what will happen at Peavey Plaza.  The plaza never officially closes.  Sgt. Steve McCarty with Minneapolis Police said his department is waiting to see what happens before a decision is made.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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