Hennepin County officials said [last week] that they will begin winterizing the plaza between the county building and Minneapolis City Hall… They said protesters will have to consolidate their possessions and can’t leave them unattended anymore or they’ll be taken.
The number of portable toilets is being cut from seven to three, and starting [last] Friday, no more signs will be allowed.
“We think that it’s a violation of our rights to free speech and free assembly,” said Nick Espinosa, one of the protest organizers. “You don’t put a curfew on the right to assemble, and that’s what they are trying to do on the plaza.”
The kid might have a point if he or any of his comrades owned the plaza. As it stands, they have no inherent right to do anything on property which is not theirs, especially at an expense which they do not incur. Of course, understanding that would require recognition of property rights and respect for their fellow citizens. Those are qualities sorely lacking.
A few days ago, seven protestors were arrested for blocking an intersection in downtown Minneapolis. Espinosa sees this as but one tool to help accomplish goals. He said that rallies, protests and marches haven’t produced results so they will try a number of approaches.
Espinosa has participated in a number of high profile [assault] protests including [throwing] a bag of pennies [at] gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer and [throwing] glitter [at] Newt Gingrich and [at] the Marcus Bachmann clinic.
Understand? This is the same attitude that was enthusiastically advocated by The Nation’s Johann Hari in a piece written during the union protests in Wisconsin earlier this year. In it, Hari pined for a “progressive Tea Party” which would model itself after a group of thugs in Britain called UK Uncut. Note how Hari’s quoted language previews Espinosa’s.
British liberals and left-wingers have been holding marches and protests for years and been roundly ignored. So why did UK Uncut suddenly gain such traction? Alex Higgins, another protester, explains, “It’s because we broke the frame that people expect protest to be confined to. Suddenly, protesters were somewhere they weren’t supposed to be—they were not in the predictable place where they are tolerated and regarded as harmless by the authorities. If UK Uncut had just consisted of a march on Whitehall [where government departments are located], where we listened to a few speakers and went home, nobody would have heard of it. But this time we went somewhere unanticipated. We disrupted something they really value: trade…”