Occupy protesters must remove items from plaza

Published 7:39 am Sunday, December 4, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — Hennepin County authorities said Friday that with snow in the forecast, it’s time for anti-Wall Street protesters who have been occupying a plaza outside the government center in Minneapolis to begin removing their items from the grounds.

Hennepin County Security Director Kirk Simmons said protesters were cooperating with the county’s request, and by Friday afternoon about a dozen protesters had consolidated their items into one pile. Because of the effort, Simmons said, authorities would hold off on forcibly removing the rest of the items.

“We’re going to kind of monitor the situation and see how it develops … and see how things go with the weather and the number of folks that are out there,” Simmons said. “It’s a really fluid situation.

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“The last thing we want to do is initiate a big confrontation,” he said. He added that as more snow falls, the county will have to keep sidewalks clear and will need to put excess snow in the area where protesters had gathered.

The county told protesters in writing that they would no longer be able to store items such as tables, chairs, boxes or tarps on the plaza. The county said unattended personal items will be removed.