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Minneapolis Prepared For ‘Occupy Minnesota’ Protests

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The protest against the country’s financial industry, known as “Occupy Wall Street,” has grown to occupy cities from coast to coast and it’ll now be moving into Minnesota.

About 1,000 people are expected to protest economic inequality starting at 9 a.m. Friday on the Hennepin County Government Plaza. It’s in downtown Minneapolis between Minneapolis City Hall and the Hennepin County office building.

Organizers expect protestors, who claim they’re putting people before profits, will hold signs and chant, much like thousands of other protestors have done across the country.

“Make the corporations pay!  Cuts no way,” said some of them marching through America’s city streets. The mid-September rally at a focal point of American wealth, Wall Street in New York, has since pushed across country.

“And we still want a meaningful voice here,” said April, who’s one of the organizers of “Occupy Minnesota,” the name given to the protests coming to Minneapolis. “We are representing the 99 percent of Americans that don’t hold the power of the majority of the wealth here in this country.”

April said she wants peaceful protests, but if that stands, it’ll be dramatically different from what’s happened across the country. New York City Police pushed protestors back and arrested some once they recently rushed barricades. Tensions ran high in other cities too, including Los Angeles, where on Thursday police arrested 11 people for marching through city streets and in between high rises and other financial institutions before walking into a Bank of America branch.

Just like in other cities, Twin Cities protestors are expected to move outside Government Plaza and into other parts of downtown Minneapolis, as they push for economic change.  They’ll be coming from throughout the Midwest, from across Minnesota, the Dakotas and Iowa.

“We’ve got people spanning ages, spanning nationalities, races, everything. It’s a pretty widespread group,” said April, who added they plan to occupy Government Plaza not just for one, but for several days.

“I think we’re protesting this totally different than other cities,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, who said he reached out to Twin Cities protest organizers and met with them this week.  “As long as we keep those open lines of communication, we’re not expecting problems at this point.  We’re expecting a very peaceful, non-event quite honestly.”

Protestors will be allowed to bring sleeping bags and sleep at Government Plaza, but a city ordinance won’t permit them to set-up tents. Protestors in New York City have been there for several weeks, but there’s no indication exactly how long these protestors might stay here.

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