Reporting Holly Wagner
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Occupy Minnesota protesters say Hennepin County is trying to force them out of Government Plaza in downtown Minneapolis.
Hennepin County began enforcing new restrictions Friday morning at Government Plaza, where protesters have been gathering for nearly a month. The restrictions require protesters to move for plaza maintenance and to refrain from sleeping on the plaza when winter weather arrives.
A spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the county’s new rules are censoring the protesters and infringing on their free assembly rights. The ACLU has asked the county to rescind their restrictions. But the county has refused.
The county said protesters need to move so that maintenance work can be done on the plaza’s sprinkler system before winter. The sleeping restrictions are in place for the protester’s safety, the county said, so that they don’t suffer from frostbite or hypothermia.
Despite the restrictions, protester Sam Roberts said he isn’t going anywhere.
“I’m going to stay here. They’re staying here. If they do kick us out, we’ll be down the street somewhere else,” he said.
For the past few days, protesters have talked of moving the protest to somewhere else in Minneapolis. However, no plan has yet been put in place.
The county also said that protesters won’t be able to let their things sit freely in the plaza during winter.