Occupy MN protesters set up tents outside US Bank Plaza, cops arrest seven [UPDATE]

Police tore up one of the tents shortly after it went up, but have left others.
Police tore up one of the tents shortly after it went up, but have left others.

Earlier this week, Occupy MN demonstrators made it known they planned to set up a new Tent City on the plaza outside of US Bank.

This was not an empty threat: Around 12:45 p.m. this afternoon, 50 protesters set up camp in the intersection outside the building, putting up four tents. Police ripped three of the crude pup tents apart, but a camping tent and one tarp tent remained. Around 50 protesters are still occupying the road at the intersection of 6th Street and 2nd Avenue downtown.

For the moment, at least a dozen police are looking on, but seem to be letting the protesters have their moment.

UPDATE: Eventually, the cops told everyone to beat it. Seven protesters refused to budge, and each of them was arrested.

Cops bust up pup tents.
Cops bust up pup tents.
Kevin Whelan

After their Tent City in Government Plaza was torn down by Hennepin County Sheriff's deputies on Sunday, the occupiers vowed to rebuild on US Bank Plaza. But both plazas on either side of the building were gated off with crews spraying down the pavement with high pressure hoses, preventing the tents from being set up. Nevertheless, marchers set up a few transparent tents on the tiny strip of sidewalk left free, as Minneapolis police officers gathered and watched.

As the protest was going on outside, inside the building, a group of occupiers secretly gathered on the twelfth floor and assembled a conventional camping tent. Their plan was to load it onto an elevator and ride to the second floor, where there is a US Bank branch location, and "occupy" the busy hallway in front of it.

The plan was thwarted, however, by slow elevators and one incensed office building worker.

"Some dickhead called security," says Misty Rowan, one of the protesters who assembled the tent.

The group was politely escorted out by security after they tried to haul the tent down to the sky way level by stairs.

As a backup, the protesters decided to occupy the intersection and block traffic.

UPDATE: After a while, more Minneapolis police arrived on the scene, warning protesters that they'd need to get out of the street or face arrest. Nearly all of them followed this warning, but seven protesters refused, defying the orders and staying in the middle of the street.

The police lived up to their word: After a third warning, they moved in, and calmly arrested the people still in the street, who went into custody without incident. As other, more compliant protesters looked on, police also destroyed the remaining clear tent that had been set up by protesters.

The seven arrestees are Peter Leeman, Devin Wynn, Ben Egerman, Katrina Plotz, Merritt Benton, Misty Rowan and Jason St. John. 

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