OccupyMN demonstrators turn attention to banksby Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio
Minneapolis — About 100 participants in the OccupyMN protest spent Tuesday afternoon talking, playing music and holding meetings at the plaza outside the Hennepin County Government Center.
Demonstrators said they hope more people will come to the plaza to discuss solutions to the nation's economic woes and address other concerns. Several dozen people have been at the protest since it began on Friday at the plaza. Some have spent the nights in sleeping bags. Similar protests are underway throughout the country, all of them sparked by the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protest in New York City.
Ruthann Ovenshire has attended the Minneapolis gathering for a few hours each day. She said she wants citizens to work with government to solve problems, instead of treating government as the enemy.
"I am very grateful for the things that government gives me. I'm grateful for public libraries, public parks, schools, streets," Ovenshire, 70, said. "There's just so much and I just think that it's ridiculous that people are blaming the government for things that corporations have done to us."
She hopes the gathering will generate ideas to help repair the country's economy.
Protest organizer Diana Turner said all viewpoints are welcome.
"It's not one or the other," she said. "There's a third way. It doesn't have to be this or that," Turner said. "We've just never given ourselves a chance in this society to really explore what those third ways are. And this is what's happening down here."
Earlier Tuesday, protesters marched from the plaza to nearby U.S. Bank to protest the banking industry's role in the economic downturn. They returned to the plaza, nicknamed the "people's plaza" by protesters, where volunteers passed out free food and water.
The protest continues tonight with a march from the plaza to TCF Bank. Organizers said they plan to remain at the plaza indefinitely to voice their concerns.