OWS — thy name is stupidity up north.
UPDATE: The new Occupy Minneapolis encampment in front of Minneapolis City Hall had a much shorter life than the 61-day occupation of county property across the street. This morning, at about 9 a.m., Minneapolis police hauled away and arrested at least two protesters and ripped down a tent that had been set up on the sidewalk. Amid taunts of “the whole world is watching” and “this is what policy brutality looks like,” the officers cuffed, carried and wrestled one heavyset young man into a squad car. A few minutes later, a man who said his name was David Alexander was handcuffed on the sidewalk at 3rd Avenue and 5th Street and placed in a squad car. Protesters had planned a news conference at 9 a.m. but instead got a noisy confrontation that the authorities had hoped to avoid.
That follows the action earlier this morning just across the street. Hennepin County Sheriff’s deputies descended on the plaza outside the County Government Center at about 4:15 a.m. Thursday, dismantling and removing about 30 tents that had been erected by Wall Street demonstrators.
Protesters from the Occupy Minneapolis movement were pulled from the tents, but no protester was detained and no one was hurt.
The action by law enforcement personnel was gentle but forceful, and the protesters remained peaceful. However, some of the protesters offered the deputies no help, sitting inside the tents. They had to be physically dragged out of them. In protest parlance, it is known as ‘civil disobedience.’
The deputies’ action today was in sharp contrast to several protests around the country where there has been some violence in attempts to dismantle Occupy camps or halt demonstrators.
The protests have sprung up across the country in support of the original Occupy Wall Street demonstrations that began in September to highlight what protesters say are the large inequities between the general population and the nation’s wealthiest.
Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek described the deputies’ actions today as ‘non-confrontational.’
He said county security staff, who are not members of the sheriff’s department, had walked among the protests during the night, repeatedly advising them that putting tents on the plaza violated country rules.
The security staff could have handed the protesters trespass notices, and deputies could have arrested them, but a decision was made not to arrest anyone this morning, Stanek said. ‘Unlike other cities, we don’t want a clash with law enforcement to be the focal point of the protesters,’ he said.
Stanek said the cost of using deputies to police the Occupy Minneapolis protest since its inception in October totals $300,000, including $15,000 for this morning’s operations. Minneapolis police have also been keeping cost totals, but have not updated them recently.
The Minneapolis occupation began Oct. 7, so Thursday marked the end of the 8-week encampment.
By 4:30 a.m., all the tents had been taken down and carried away by deputies to a flatbed truck that hauled the tents away.
The protesters had erected the tents on Wednesday night in defiance of a county rule that barred the demonstrators from putting them up.
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