Minneapolis police were braced for a violent confrontation with Occupy Minnesota activists intent on reclaiming a home the police had seized. Instead, the police were peacefully serenaded while a pastor from across the street led the crowd in prayer.
Occupy Minnesota had announced earlier this week it intended to “reoccupy” the foreclosed and evicted Cruz home at 2pm on Friday. Just before 2pm, about 30 Minneapolis Police officers were deployed on the homes front lawn and the yard was closed off with yellow tape.
Officers on bicycles were the first line of defense. A second row of tape was wrapped around the property. A surveillance camera had been deployed at 41st and Cedar. The alley behind the home was blocked with a solid line of squad cars as was the alley south of 41st Street. Squad cars kept circling the area and a paddy wagon was reported close by. Occupy Minnesota activists said the police were acting as if they were being paid by Freddie Mac.
For a while the activists and the police stared at each other across the demilitarized zone of Cedar Ave. Then, after a short rally in the Ebeneezer Lutheran Church parking lot across the street from home, the activists went across the street to storm the barricade. However, instead of crossing the line, they encircled the taped area with arms linked.
Pastor Todd Mathison of Ebenezer Lutheran Church led a prayer for justice for the Cruz family and a swift return to their home. Remarks by a few were followed by singing, “We Shall Not Be Moved.” When they left to return to a barbecue in the church parking lot they chanted, “We’ll Be Back.”
“The ongoing waste of thousands of public dollars by Mayor Rybak and his police to serve as taxpayer-funded private security for Freddie Mac shows that our city is more concerned with protecting banks than keeping families in their homes,” said Martha Ockenfels-Martinez, an organizer with Occupy Homes MN.
“If you look at the people protecting the Cruz home, it’s average everyday people. It’s regular folks who share a common interest in doing the right thing. The house has been occupied for weeks and they were quiet and respectful. It wasn’t until the police arrived en masse that the problems started.” Said neighbor Sasha Lindquist. “Everybody knows somebody who’s going through this foreclosure mess, it’s an epidemic.”
Twenty-three have been arrested during five eviction attempts in the last week as part of an ongoing defense of the Cruz family’s home that has garnered national attention. Monday June 4, Occupy DC has organized a demonstration in front of the Freddie Mac office in Washington, DC.