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Protestors converge on the state Capitol for opening day of the legislative session [IMAGES]

The cardboard sign on the right reads, "Make the Safety Net Safe."
The cardboard sign on the right reads, "Make the Safety Net Safe."

The Minnesota Legislature kicked off the 2013-2014 biennium today at noon. Which means that marching protestors arrived on the Capitol steps at 11:30.

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The first group to set up camp was protesting for a welfare increase. Armed with lime-green signs (including bags of extras for any motivated onlookers or latecomers) and a megaphone, the group opened with a call-and-response chant: "What do we want?" "Tax the rich." "When do we want it?" "Now."

Welfare dollars haven't increased since 1986, the activists explained, even as the cost of living has doubled. "In 1986, the maximum cash grant was $437," the voice behind the mic yelled. "In 2013, it's still $437."

The group shouted demands to double the welfare grants by eliminating "billions" in tax breaks for the wealthy. But right when they were starting in on a new chant, another group showed up.

Protestors with the Idle No More movement march over to the Capitol from Sears.
Protestors with the Idle No More movement march over to the Capitol from Sears.

These demonstrators had marched over from the Sears across the street, waving banners and banging drums. Their calls to the convening state legislators were less direct than "tax they rich": they were seeking awareness.

Protestors converge on the state Capitol for opening day of the legislative session [IMAGES]

The sizable group was there in solidarity with the "Idle No More" movement sweeping Canada and spilling over into the U.S., which calls for indigenous people's rights.

These protestors wanted recognition for "how the earth is being treated," they shouted as they climbed to the top of the Capitol steps.

Protestors converge on the state Capitol for opening day of the legislative session [IMAGES]

At about a quarter to noon, while, inside the Capitol, 132 House members were preparing to be sworn in, the group began a drum circle and continued to chant.

Crowded Capitol steps.
Crowded Capitol steps.

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