Several OccupyMN protesters arrestedby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Demonstrators with the Occupy movement in Minneapolis over the weekend set up outdoor camps in downtown's Peavey Plaza and Loring Park.
Minneapolis Police say they arrested a dozen Occupy MN protesters Saturday evening.
A few dozen protestors erected tents in the plaza and park near downtown Minneapolis in an attempt to re-establish the Occupy movement's presence in the city. Police spokesman Sgt. Steve McCarty said officers warned the group at Peavey they were violating city ordinances and blocking public access and to leave.
McCarty said demonstrators marched through the area of Hennepin Avenue and 5th Street at about 10 p.m. He said they blocked intersections and impeded an ambulance on an emergency call. McCarty said that's when officers arrested the 12 protestors.
Demonstrators say they moved to the side to let the ambulance pass. In a release, Occupy protestors say they were marching peacefully when officers "attacked" them.
McCarty said he could not comment on allegations of excessive force.
"I can't because I haven't seen it. So I don't know," McCarty said. "However, if they feel they've been brutalized by Minneapolis police they can go to Civilian Review or Internal Affairs."
McCarty said officers later took down the tents Occupy demonstrators had erected in Peavey Plaza. Occupy protestors said six of their group who were arrested have been released on bail. They will continue to to rally at the Hennepin County Government Center Plaza Monday afternoon.
Members of the OccupyMNmovement spent about two months in Hennepin County Government Plaza last fall. A judge ruled demonstrators couldn't pitch tents, but they did so anyway. Authorities confiscated the equipment.
Over the following months, the movement mostly relinquished its downtown presence, while branching out to include protests over home foreclosures.
This weekend a few dozen demonstrators tried to re-establish a presence by pitching tents in Peavey Plaza and Loring Park.
Among them was local movement organizer Liz Dahl, who said the Occupy movement makes her feel as though she is standing up for equality.
"It makes me feel like there's a community that finally has built around all of the issues that have been bothering me for so many years," Dahl said. "Finally, I have a community that's willing to have an open conversation. And that's what I was looking for."
Dahl said if authorities again take their tents, demonstrators will regroup and collectively decide their next move.