Reporting Holly Wagner
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Winter weather and new restrictions are making it increasingly difficult for the Occupy Minnesota protest to keep its place on the Hennepin County Government Plaza, which protesters have been occupying since Oct. 7.
Hennepin County officials told protesters Friday that they have until 10 p.m. to move their personal belongings off the plaza. If they refuse, the county said it will take the restricted items and throw them away.
The only items that can be left in the plaza are the protester’s signs, county officials said.
The scene at Government Plaza Friday was markedly sober with only a few protesters picking up the items they didn’t want discarded. Only a day before, dozens of protesters took to the plaza and police arrested two men who attempted to keep tents up on government property.
The protesters said they feel they’re being forced out, and some, like Ben Painter, want to continue protesting elsewhere.
“I just know I want our voices to be heard,” Painter said. “If people can actually come down and talk to us about what’s going on in this country — the wars, the corporations, the corruption in our government — I hope that’s what can come of this.”
The county’s winter restrictions don’t allow protesters to sleep on the plaza when temperatures dip below 25 degrees or when there is considerable snow – enough to be plowed.