On October 20, 2011, hundreds of people participated in a demonstration in front of U.S. Bank in downtown Minneapolis to draw attention to the fact that over 25,000 Minnesotans lost their homes to foreclosure in 2010 alone. 7 people, including 2 Anti-War Committee activists, were arrested in the intersection in front of the bank and charged with “interfering with pedestrian and vehicular traffic.” Four of them are scheduled to go to trial on July 30th, but on July 20th they had 3 more charges (unlawful assembly, public nuisance and not complying with a “peace officer”) added!
Nationally the Occupy movement is facing increasing police brutality, police infiltration, and trumped up charges. Locally the Minneapolis city attorney’s office has decided to try to shut down the growing movement of people standing in solidarity with families struggling to save their homes from foreclosure by giving protesters outrageous charges. For example, the city prosecutors have escalated charges on the 14 protesters who defended the Cruz family home on May 30th. Prosecutors at the City Attorney’s office originally charged supporters with trespassing, but have now moved to significantly more serious charges including 3rd degree riot–a gross misdemeanor which carries a sentence of up to one year in prison and a $3,000 fine.
The city of Minneapolis is trying to scare people from standing in solidarity with people being thrown out of their own homes. Solidarity is not a crime! Don’t jail the movement, jail the bankers! We know from our work defending the homes of Rosemary Williams and Leslie Parks through the People’s Bailout Coalition that it is essential to our movement for people to be able to protest home foreclosures. The foreclosure crisis is a central issue in the U.S. economic crisis – we cannot be scared away from this important issue and from the tactic of civil disobedience!
We need to stand up for the right to protest!
Call Mayor R.T. Rybak at 612-673-2100,
Assistant City Attorney Mary Ellen Heng at 612-673-2270 and
City Attorney Susan Segal at 612-673-3272
to ask them why Occupy protests are facing unusually harsh charges and demand that they drop ALL CHARGES on anti-foreclosure protesters including the 4 people in the U.S. Bank action who are going to court on July 30th and those arrested at the Cruz home.
Anti-War Committee ** antiwarcommittee.org