Eleven people protesting unemployment were arrested Thursday, accused of blocking traffic on the 10th Avenue bridge in Minneapolis, part of a national wave of demonstrations that has gathered momentum from the Occupy Wall Street movement..
About 400 demonstrators chose the old bridge as the destination of their march to call for a national jobs program to repair crumbling infrastructure and highlight rampant unemployment among black Minnesotans.
"How do we fix the deficit? End the war and tax the rich," protesters chanted, as they marched from the University of Minnesota Law School. Once on the bridge, most of the protesters moved to the sidewalk, chanting slogans denouncing Wall Street, but 11 of them sat on the street, their arms interlocked. After 10 minutes, police handcuffed the protesters, helped them to their feet and led them away to be photographed and put in a police wagon.
The arrests were a contrast to the sometimes-violent confrontations in New York, Seattle and other cities
How so? Well, let a
"It's going quite well," said Minneapolis police Lt. Dean Christiansen, who was supervising officers at the scene. He said a protest organizer spoke with him Wednesday and spelled out the protesters' plans and "it's going as we had agreed."
Sgt. Gerry Nelson said the 11 protesters were being arrested for violating two misdemeanor state statutes, obstructing vehicle traffic and creating a public nuisance. The sit-down occurred during rush hour, and Christiansen said traffic was diverted during the demonstration.
Isn't that nice -- it's all been preplanned and choreographed. Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, a little less love:
Protesters who blocked traffic Thursday and invited arrest declared victory and marched off after Police Chief Edward Flynn said that officers wouldn't help them fulfill their "martyrdom fantasies" and that they could stay "and freeze their butts off."
Hundreds of protesters sat or stood on the North Ave. bridge over Interstate 43 for two hours.
Flynn, speaking to TV cameras as protesters chanted "We are the 99%," said he was withdrawing most of the couple dozen officers who had been watching the protesters "so we can answer 911 calls and protect the community."
Seems reasonable to me. Further, Flynn makes a salient point:
Asked about the economic issues in the protest, Flynn told reporters, "If they're angry about the economy, go to Wall Street. There's 35% unemployment in this neighborhood. Who are they disrupting?"I'm with Flynn on this one. What do you think?
Referring to below-freezing evening temperatures, Flynn said, "They can sit and freeze their butts off, I don't care."