Reporting John Lauritsen
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hundreds of protestors could be in downtown Minneapolis Saturday with Occupy Minnesota movement expected to resume.
Last fall, about 500 demonstrators set up tents outside the Hennepin County Government Center Plaza. The anti-Wall Street and bank protestors were there for about two months before leaving for the winter.
They are expected to return, this time occupying Peavey Plaza and Loring Park.
Minneapolis Police are making preparations for their arrival.
“Basically, we are going to kind of wait and see what happens,” said Sgt. Steve McCarty of the Minneapolis Police Department.
Police have set up a camera at Peavey and several others at Loring Park. They will live-stream the protestor’s activities back to an intelligence room where officers will be watching.
“People have the right to assemble as long as it is within the correct hours. And we are just going to hope that everything is peaceful and we have law-abiding citizens,” said McCarty.
The protestors can stay at the Peavey Plaza overnight, but not at Loring Park, where Minneapolis Park Police are in charge.
Organizers say the cameras aren’t necessary.
“It’s sad. I’d like to see cameras in places where they are actually needed, like high crime areas,” said co-organizer Sam Richards.
“I’m not terribly surprised. I’m a little bit saddened. I think what we are doing here is being protected by the Constitution,” said co-organizer Ben Egerman.
Egerman said the winter weather forced protestors to leave last fall. This time, with the spring and summer ahead, he thinks hundreds could be here indefinitely. He promises a peaceful protest, as long as their rights are recognized.
“We have our first amendment rights. That’s what we are doing here. There are no curfews on it and there are no limits on it,” said Egerman.
Organizers say they expect people to start arriving at Peavey Plaza and Loring Park around noon Saturday.
They are expecting about 200 to 300 protestors initially, and they expect those numbers to grow in the coming days.