Occupy MN and TakeAction Minnesota storms Wells Fargo [UPDATE]
This fancy building doesn't know what it's got coming.
This week, Minneapolis will be witness to a confluence of local protest entities, starting today at 11 a.m., when organizers from TakeAction Minnesota will converge at the Government Plaza and try to woo Occupy MN participants into following them in a march to the Wells Fargo Center.
It probably won't be a hard sell.
"It's been in the works for a number of weeks, and it does happen to coincide with Occupy MN," says TakeAction spokeswoman Greta Bergstrom. "It's really important that we make big banks pay."
And man, do they have plenty to do it with: According to a report out this morning, Wells Fargo had record earnings this year. Quiet down you rabble-rousers! What recession?
TakeAction is no friend of the big banks -- the route to the Wells Fargo Center, located at 7th Street and Maruqette Avenue, will include a purposeful passing of Ameriprise and US Bank -- but the march intends to get the attention of the Washington D.C. "Super Congress" tasked with passing a bill to close the federal deficit. Bergstrom says the idea is to urge federal lawmakers to tax big banks, corporations and big pharma to close the hole, sparing cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
This man has a funny sign and a serious point.
Marchers will illustrate this point by wearing large red foam fingers to "point out" who should be paying the debt.
"They won't say '#1' on them," says Bergstrom.
Originally, TakeAction organizers anticipated a modest turnout of about 250 marchers, but with the Government Center conveniently filled with hundreds of young activists, they now believe the event will draw significantly larger numbers.
TakeAction doesn't have permission to march in traffic and is planning to stick to the sidewalks -- let's see if the middle-lane-loving Occupy MN participants will adhere to that.
The people inside the Wells Fargo Center will have trouble noticing the din over the noise of champagne bottles popping. This morning, Bloomberg News is reporting that Wells Fargo has had a record year, with something like $15 billion in earnings.
The march is just the start of what should be an eventful week of protest activity. Though Occupy MN was conceptualized as a solidarity campaign for Occupy Wall Street two weeks ago, organizations like TakeAction and Minnesotans for a Fair Economy are capitalizing on what seems to be the collective national dissatisfaction driving various Occupy movements in dozens of cities throughout the country.
Check back to find out what else is in store for Minneapolis's 99 percent this week.
UPDATE: When City Pages first spoke to Occupy MN protesters about their march on Wells Fargo, it sounded like they were going to stay outside the building and shout.
Looks like they changed their minds. This photo, taken from inside the Wells Fargo Center, shows the Occupy MN horde filling the indoor lobby. What they're doing or saying remains to be seen, but it looks like they number at least 100 in this image, and would probably be a pretty loud nuisance to the bankers.
SECOND UPDATE: Here, from a Wells Fargo employee, is a first-hand description of just what happened when Minnesota's protest movement raided the Wells Fargo Center lobby.
It was pretty crazy stuff. I was walking out of the elevator and the lobby was empty, but I did see a large crowd outside. At first it looked like they might have been waiting for a bus to come. But when they camp pouring in through the doors with signs, shouting together, I knew it Occupy MN was making the rounds downtown.
It couldn't have lasted more than 10 minutes, but you could hear them filling the skyway with chanting. They pulled in onlookers to the balcony above. People had to see what was going on. After a bit longer it was time for them to leave and they carefully shuffled out the way they came in, pouring back onto the street.
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