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Seven Occupy protesters arrested in Minneapolis U.S. Bank protest

In an action that resulted in seven arrests, Occupy Wall Street protesters in Minneapolis Thursday took their almost two-week long protest to U.S. Bank, a frequent target of protesters’ criticism that corporations and banks dominate the political system.

Their arrests occurred after about 100 protesters took control of 2nd Avenue South and 6th Street South in downtown Minneapolis after rallying at the U.S. Bank building for more than an hour.

The protest was partly a bid to set up tents at the occupation at Hennepin County Government Center Plaza, a request that the Hennepin Count Sheriff’s Department, which controls their plaza, has denied. A medic said he hasn’t yet seen injury from the cold, but that hypothermia was becoming more of a risk as temperatures plummet.

Protesters carried three wooden-framed structures dressed in transparent plastic from plaza to the sidewalk of U.S. Bank building across the street, then to the intersection on the other side of the building.

In the building, it was business as usual as office workers lunched, but outside U.S. Bank set up a security cordon to control who entered the building, initially denying media access. All private areas of the plaza were also fenced off.

Image has not been found. URL: http://images.minnesotaindependent.com/occupytent4.jpgDespite the security, protesters willing to be arrested said they were able to sneak inside and almost set up a tent on the 12th floor before being escorted out, but not arrested, by security.

Protester Katrina Plotze said she was willing to be arrested to stand against the influence of corporations and banks.

“I think it is interesting we have not been arrested and that we’ve been occupying this intersection,” Plotze told protesters as she stood near a tent set up in the intersection early in the occupation. “That shows that police and the city know about the 99 percent of this country is on our side.”

When protesters initially took the intersection, police destroyed one of the see-through tents, smashing it into pieces. Protesters occupied the intersection peacefully, with police blocking off traffic on all four sides.

After almost one and a half hours, police announced that protesters who didn’t leave would be arrested. The seven who chose to go to jail sat in tents in the middle of the street until they were led away by police. Don Gerten, 65, wasn’t involved in the civil disobedience. Instead he was standing near the plaza with a sign reading “We were promised a future. Where is it?”

Gerten described himself as a “basically conservative veteran.”

“If you asked if I’d be doing this six months ago, I’d say you were crazy, but this country is in such bad shape you’ve got to do something,” he said. “Things get so bad you got to do something.”

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