MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Occupy Minnesota protesters moved around Minneapolis Sunday afternoon looking for a place to build a symbolic longhouse, but at each location, authorities told them to stop construction.
Occupy organizers said they planned to build a longhouse on Government Plaza in downtown Minneapolis. They also said that if Hennepin County authorities asked them to stop building the longhouse, they would. That appears to be what happened around 2 p.m. at the Government Plaza.
Occupy organizers said they thought the longhouse might be approved by county authorities because both its end are open, making the structure somewhat different from a tent. They also said that the structure would have been taken down immediately, because it’s construction was meant to be educational.
According to a WCCO-TV photojournalist who was documenting the protesters, after authorities shutdown longhouse construction at Government Plaza, protesters moved the project to private property behind the courthouse, where a security guard also told protesters to stop construction.
The protesters then planned to walk to Gold Medal Park to construct the longhouse. But on the way to the park, an argument flared up between the protesters, and many left left the group.
The structure protesters attempted to build is a large, single-room building. Protesters planned to use a longhouse as a winter meeting place for their assembly and various committees.
Protesters said the longhouse symbolizes their constitutional right to assemble peacefully – something that protesters say Hennepin County infringed upon when it put in place new protest restrictions earlier this week.
The longhouse is also a throwback to the 1983 Minnesota Women’s Camp for Peace and Justice in St. Paul, occupy organizers said. In that demonstration, which protested nuclear weapons, women slept all winter in an insulated structure on government property.