May Day protests expect hundreds
In conjunction with May Day protests happening across the country, Occupy Minneapolis and local labor groups are expected to turn out in the hundreds tomorrow in Loring Park and other parts of the city during a day-long protest.
The national "Day Without the 99 Percent" movement is encouraging people to skip work, walk out of class, refrain from shopping, and take to the streets tomorrow.
That seems to have local cops slightly on edge, especially given their last run-in with occupiers -- and the media attempting to cover them.
Events are kicking off tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. in Loring Park with a breakfast, followed by a string of events and protests. Worker and immigrant rights groups will be marching to Wells Fargo at some point; Food and Retail Workers United will march from Powderhorn Park in the early evening. Occupy Homes -- which is currently fighting the eviction of a South Minneapolis family in foreclosure -- will march to US Bank. Events are scheduled until 10 p.m. Read the whole schedule here.
According to the event RSVP, nearly 500 protesters are planning to attend.
Earlier this morning, the Minneapolis police released a statement that seems directly related to the last time Occupy marched in early April. As occupiers protesting in the street were being arrested, KSTP cameraman Chad Nelson was taped getting his equipment thrown to the ground. Chief Tim Dolan later released a statement saying that the officer's actions appeared excessive and unnecessary.
Today's release, titled "a message to the media," states:
The Minneapolis Police Department is anticipating that a large number of people will be participating in the annual May Day activities and events, to include marches and rallies, on May 1st.
There is also the possibility that a large number of people may participate in civil disobedience as part of these activities and events. The Minneapolis Police Department wants to ensure that everybody's 1st Amendment Rights are protected as well as ensuring that an appropriate response to any civil disobedience is available.
We fully understand that members of the credentialed media have a job to do and we encourage them to work with us, however keep in mind that we have a job to do also. It includes keeping law and order; if you are directed by an officer to move, disperse or any other lawful order, please do as instructed.
Sgt. Stephen McCarty says the note is not meant to specifically address the KSTP incident or suggest that Nelson disobeyed an officer's direction. He characterized the release as a "general reminder."
"We just always try to work with the credentialed media and everyone for that matter," he says.
He says the Internal Affairs investigation on the officer who was taped shoving the cameraman is still open.
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