People living in the East Phillips neighborhood are hunkering down in defiance of Minneapolis city leaders and police.
Members and allies of the Little Earth Native-preference housing development hope to prevent exposure to toxic arsenic debris and increased pollution from a Minneapolis Public Works expansion plan.
“There were hundreds of cops there. I’ve never seen so many cops show up for something nonviolent in my entire life. And our aunties and spiritual leaders went up there to try and you know, plead with them. You know, we’re in ceremony here, you know, we’re having prayer here. We’re not doing anything violent. The Minneapolis Police Department has a statement, you know, they made a statement that they’re not going to show up for nonviolent crimes anymore,” said Thunder. “And so they were pleading with them. And, you know, they basically were like, No, we have orders from the mayor, to come here. So this came directly from the mayor of Minneapolis, Mayor Frey,” said Thunder.
Rachel Thunder is a protest leader who, along with several others at the Occupy Roof Depot encampment, was arrested and released by Minneapolis Police on Tuesday, February 21. Thunder identifies as Plains Cree and a member of the American Indian Movement, or AIM, and the Little Earth Protectors.
Those groups and others are trying to accumulate more support than snow for their south Minneapolis encampment.
“We invite everybody, you know, all of our relatives from all across Turtle Island to come and join us here in this fight on stolen unceded land. This land, that we’re currently residing on, falls under treaties signed under Fort Snelling in the early 1800s that were not honored, that were broken by the United States government,” said Thunder in a press conference Tuesday.
Thunder and other Roof Depot occupiers are demanding that the Minneapolis Public Works’ Hiawatha Maintenance Facility expansion project be relocated. And, that the Roof Depot site is given back to the community for an indoor urban farm plan previously rejected by Mayor Jacob Frey and the city council.
Demolition of the Roof Depot warehouse is expected to start Monday, February 27th.
On Thursday after this original story was published, the Minneapolis City Council voted to continue with the Hiawatha Expansion project after Council person Jason Chavez made a motion to end the construction contract. People trying to stop the public works expansion on the Roof Depot site have also announced a schedule of actions in efforts to stay the construction.
Some audio in this report was provided by Unicorn Riot, a non-profit independent media organization. You can find more from them at UnicornRiot.Ninja.
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