It was bound to happen sooner or later but Hennepin County has decided that it’s time for the occupiers at the Government Plaza to pack up an leave, at least during the evening:
According to a memo issued by the county, once snow falls and temperatures fall below 25 degrees, overnight sleeping on the plaza will be prohibited, portable toilets will be removed and a canopy shelter taken down.
County officials announced that winterization of the plaza will begin Friday. That means not only blowing out irrigation system lines but “consolidation” of items left in the plaza, storing sleeping bags during the day and removing all non-county signs.
A copy of the actual notice can be downloaded here [PDF]. To summarize Hennipen County isn’t going to let anybody sleep at the Plaza between the hours of 22:00 and 6:00 and all portable toilets will be removed once the mercury falls below 25 or the first “significant” snowfall occurs (what defines a significant snowfall is never defined).
Now comes the interesting part, what will Occupy Minneapolis’s response be. I’ve been hanging out in the chatroom periodically to see what is being planned but so far there is no generally accepted plan. Unlike many of the other occupy events, the Minneapolis crew is pretty few in numbers meaning they won’t be able to put up much resistance if the police decide to roll in and remove the occupiers by force. Thus civil disobedience is probably out leading the only other option being to plead with a government that has thus far been unwilling to provide much in the way of favorable rulings (although they’ve thrown the occupiers a few crumbs here and there for keep them disillusioned that the county is trying to help them).
Another idea that seems to be floating around is getting the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) involved to bring a lawsuit against Hennepin County although I’m not sure how well that’s going to fly (knowing the ACLU, whom are pretty decent at fighting for free speech and right of assembly, it is likely that they will take the case). This may be the only interesting thing to watch regarding Occupy Minneapolis since the whole tent confiscation occurred on its second weekend.