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Hennepin County Board OKs Occupy MN rules for plaza

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Hennepin County Board has approved new restrictions on protesters who have been occupying a downtown Minneapolis government plaza for more than a month.

The commissioners unanimously approved the changes Tuesday. While protesters can still demonstrate at the plaza, starting Monday they cannot tape signs to county property, leave items unattended or sleep on the plaza or grounds.

County officials say the plazas are not designed for camping or long-term occupation, and the changes are needed because of health and safety concerns and increased security costs.

Nick Espinosa, one of the protest organizers, calls the changes "an eviction notice." He says the protesters plan to ask the county board to rescind the rules.

The protesters have occupied the plaza since Oct. 7 in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement.  (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)