MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Twelve Occupy Minneapolis protesters were arrested on Nicollet Mall after a night of moving protests, according to police.
Police arrested the protesters near the 9th Street intersection shortly after 11 p.m. Police say they were forced to arrest the protesters because they were walking in the street.
“It was OK that they were out there but they were walking in the street,” said Sgt. Stephen McCarty of the Minneapolis Police. “The 12 people arrested were impeding traffic and public nuisance violations.”
McCarty said the protesters were tying up traffic, including emergency vehicles.
“They were making their way back to Peavey Plaza when an ambulance was trying to get through the streets on an emergency run,” he said. “They were severely hampered by these people in the street, as well as other motorists. That’s when officers made these arrests.”
McCarty said he doesn’t believe it was on purpose but they blocked the ambulance, nonetheless.
“It’s my understanding they were not purposely impeding this ambulance on an emergency run,” he said. “But at some point they did prevent the ambulance from its emergency run.”
Earlier in the night, protesters moved off Peavey Plaza following a short, verbal confrontation with police. Protesters had planned to camp out in the plaza until winter. Officers told protesters they were violating a public nuisance law and couldn’t have their tents in the plaza because they blocked entry to the plaza and the Minnesota Orchestra.
In response, the protesters — walked with their tents in hand — to Loring Park, where another group of Occupy protesters had organized.
After the meeting in park, the protesters walked back to Peavey Plaza, where police told them they still couldn’t put up their tents. The protesters then abandoned the effort to retake the plaza and took to the streets.
The protesters tweeted at Minneapolis police saying: “Gonna give us the plaza, or are we going to march all night?”
At 10:55 p.m., the protesters said they were on the move again. They tweeted: “Crowd drowning out MPD eviction announcement, headed back to the streets….Whose streets? OUR STREETS[.]”
Minutes later, the protesters tweeted about the arrests.
Officers could be seen on Nicollet Mall with protesters’ dissembled tents.