Occupy Wall Street protest coming to Minneapolis

Occupy Wall Street protest coming to Minneapolis

Occupy Wall Street, the broad-based protest that unsettled New York and resulted in hundreds of arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge over the weekend, is spreading to Minneapolis this week.

The local version of the protest will officially start at 9 a.m. on Friday, when organizers plan to fill the Hennepin County Government Center Plaza -- or, as they're calling it, "The People's Plaza."

To prepare, the OccupyMN group that's organizing Minneapolis's protest has started an aggressive promotional campaign, with accounts on Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook plugging Friday's activities. Originally, the event was set to take place at the Federal Reserve building. But organizers switched to the Government Center, with its more open and protester-friendly landscape, after a meeting on Saturday.

As for what, exactly, the local arm wants in response to its protest, a series of website postings and Youtube videos are somewhat vague.

Hitting on a point that has dominated the protests in other cities, the original posting to the Occupy MN website praises the New York protesters for "demonstrating against corporate greed and the injustices that we face as the 99%," referring to the 99 percent of people they claim are ruled by the other 1 percent. The message goes on to describe the protest, but is still evasive as to what its goals are:

This is a call to like-minded Minnesotans asking them to dedicate their energy toward this same common goal. Our mission is simple, we intend to start an occupation of our own in Minnesota. We need to let the people who run this country know that the 99% have a voice, and we intend to be heard!

Osha Karow is a spokesman for the local chapter.
Osha Karow is a spokesman for the local chapter.

In its latest Youtube video, posted yesterday, OccupyMN advertises the event with a series of flashing images -- the Minneapolis skyline, protests in other countries, cash, and the Hennepin County Government Center -- with Nine Inch Nails playing underneath.

"Do you want to help change it?" asks a block of text.

Ultimately a digitally altered voice explains, twice, that the protests will be nonviolent.

"The abuse and corruption of corporations, banks, and government ends here," says the voice. "Join us."

The event's public organizer is Osha Karow, a local actor, artist, and advocate, who lists his activist credentials on his website as work with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, In Defense of Animals, and the Red Cross.

Karow told the Star Tribune the goal of holding the protest at the Government Center plaza is to "reclaim" the site, and had relatively modest goals for a successful protest.

"My goal," Karow said, "is a peaceful, nonviolent occupation."

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