Protesters cause Capitol building to be locked down

A human rights group protests at the State Capitol
The People's Economic Human Rights Campaign held a protest inside the State Capitol Friday. the protestors camped out in the rotunda.
MPR Photo/Bill Alkofer

Security guards took the action after about 20 homeless housing rights demonstrators set up sleeping bags in the Capitol rotunda.

After the demonstration began, Capitol security guards barred more protesters and members of the media from entering the building.

A human rights group protests at the State Capitol
The People's Economic Human Rights Campaign held a protest inside the State Capitol Friday. The protestors carried their sleeping bags and signs as they left the building.
MPR Photo/ Bill Alkofer

Cheri Honkala, the national organizer of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, says a guard bruised her arm when she tried to let other group members into the building. The guard would not comment.

The entire scene ended without incident when the Chief of the Minnesota State Patrol Mark Dunaski arrived and asked the group to leave, as it was the Capitol's closing time. Dunaski responded to the woman's claims of force.

"You certainly have the right and ability to bring those concerns through the appropriate authorities if you like, you can certainly call the department of safety or the Minnesota state patrol next Tuesday when we have open hours," Dunaski told the woman.

Dunaski says guards closed the building when it seemed that the situation could get unruly. There were no arrests.

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