Occupy MN sets up tents in plaza as security watchesby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
Minneapolis — Hennepin County Sheriff's deputies photographed and video recorded the scene at the county government plaza Wednesday evening as Occupy Minnesota protestors set up about 30 tents on the southwest corner of the plaza.
Protestors vow to spend the night in defiance of a county rule against structures on the property. Last week a federal judge upheld that rule.
County spokeswoman Carolyn Marinan said authorities would like to find a peaceful resolution that accommodates the protesters' free speech rights, but added that sheriff's deputies would do what it takes to enforce the rules. As of yet, no steps have been taken to remove the tents.
"But we're going to monitor it, and try to be as cool-headed as we can, and have everybody have their First Amendment rights," Marinan said. But deputies would continue to "uphold the policy that Hennepin County has proscribed."
Minneapolis resident Sarah Martin put up a newly purchased children's tent in which she planned to spend the night. She said she wasn't intimidated by the deputies recording the scene.
"This is a public space. It's a people's plaza. It's a county plaza," Martin said. "First Amendment is the ability to dissent and speak out and this is one way to do it."
Martin said she has slept three nights at the plaza without being cited for trespassing. She said she keeps warm with tarps, blankets, and sleeping bags.
Officials in Los Angeles and Philadelphia this week cleared out Occupy movement encampments. The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office did the same when Occupy protestors last tried to erect tents.