Protesters block Minneapolis bridge; 11 arrested

Bridge protest
Protesters shouted "We are the 99 percent!" as they marched across the 10th Avenue bridge in Minneapolis on Thursday afternoon Nov. 17, 2011. About 300 people blocked traffic on the bridge for a time.
MPR Photo/Madeleine Baran

Nearly 300 people marched across the 10th Avenue bridge in Minneapolis Thursday afternoon, carrying signs that said, "Save the American Dream," and chanting, "We are the 99 percent!" as part of a national day of protests against economic inequality organized by Occupy movements across the country.

Minneapolis police arrested 11 people who sat down in the middle of the bridge and refused to leave. Protesters shouted, "You are the 99 percent!" as police officers made the arrests.

"I have kids that I want to grow up and be able to have good jobs, and be able to achieve their American dream," said David Hoaglund, as he locked arms with other protesters and waited to be arrested. "This is important."

The Minneapolis protest was part of a national day of action organized by members of Occupy Wall Street and local Occupy movements around the country. In New York City, hundreds of people rallied near Wall Street and marched across the Brooklyn Bridge chanting "This is what democracy looks like!" At least 177 people were arrested, according to CNN.

Similar protests took place in more than a dozen cities, including Milwaukee, St. Louis, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Portland, Houston, Atlanta, Miami, Nashville, Denver, Dallas, and Washington, D.C.

In Minneapolis, protesters lined the sidewalk of the 10th Ave. bridge and watched as police made the arrests.

Roger Bracher, 62, and Lion Starling, 65, at the Hennepin County Government Center plaza on Nov. 17, 2011. Bracher and Starling are part of a group of 20 to 30 protesters who have been sleeping at the plaza in violation of Hennepin County regulations.
MPR Photo/Madeleine Baran

Stephen Winkels shouted, "Whose bridge? Our bridge!" and carried a sign that said, "Save the American Dream." Winkels, 60, is unemployed and has struggled to find work.

"We can't even agree in Washington on simple things for all of us," he said. "The rich get richer. The poor get poorer, and people are at their wits' end. It's just, it's just not going to work anymore."

After the arrests, the protesters marched off the bridge and regrouped at a rally at the Hennepin County Government Center plaza. Participants in the Occupy Minnesota movement have been at the plaza since Oct. 7.

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