Occupy MN Protesters Cleaning Up But Not Leaving

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Occupy Minnesota says they are all about transparency, non-violence and being a good neighbor, that’s why they tackled the issue of trash first hand.

“I see a lot of filth,” said Matt Budzak of Bloomington.

A growing number of people are not happy about the condition of the people’s plaza that’s outside the Hennepin County Government Center.

“They’re chalking everywhere, on the sidewalks, on the building. They’re sleeping outside,” Budzak said.

Budzak is just one of several people who wonders who is going to clean this up.

“I am part of the sanitation committee and I am cleaning up people’s plaza,” said Joshua Burdette.

Occupy Minnesota says they are organizing.

“I see people picking up trash and I pick up my trash,” said Angela Skillern.

Occupy Minnesota does not want law enforcement to declare their gathering unsanitary and force them to disperse. This has happened in other cities across the country and led to arrests.

In Minnesota, the occupation pays for its own porta-potties. But the cost to keep county security officers walking the grounds is mounting.

WCCO has learned in the nine days Occupy Minnesota has been active, the county has spent more than $33,000 more than normal to provide security.

Minneapolis Police say they’ve reallocated resources allowing them to keep dollars spent in check, while the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department says it hasn’t begun to calculate costs.

“We want or demand the separation of corporation and state,” said Jimmy Watkins.

Occupy Minnesota says the 99 percent has already paid too much with foreclosures and loss of jobs.

They say not only are they cleaning up the area they occupy, they are also cleaning up the way the organization works.

“So it is untidy and we’re trying to work on that. And we’re also trying to tidy up … not our management but our structure, as well, and that’s only going to get stronger with time,” said Watkins.

Occupy Minnesota is very concerned about the safety and welfare of those who sleep outside. They are trying to work with the city of Minneapolis to find an alternative spot where they can put up tents for shelter and not be threatened with arrest.

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