The event[edit | edit source]
PROTESTERS ARE NOT RECEIVING MEDICAL ATTENTION! PLEASE CALL THE HENNEPIN COUNTY JAIL AT 612-348-5112 AND DEMAND MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR THE INJURED AND THE IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF ALL THE PROTESTERS!
The Minnehaha Free State/Liberated Zone in Minneapolis MN was raided Sunday morning at 4am by 600 State Troopers in what MN Governor Arnie Carlson has called the largest law enforcement operation in MN history. Police fired tear gas into all 7 seven houses occupied by a coalition of Big Woods Earth First! the American Indian Movement (AIM)and the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community. 33 people were arrested, 20 of them from lockdowns. (included an activist in a Santa suit locked into the chimney of one of the homes) Many of the protesters where tortured with pepper spray and pain compliance holds. One protester who was locked by the neck to a tripod had his life put in serious danger when the police overturned the tripod without taking any precautions to protect him. The extent of his injuries remains unknown. Media were blocked from the site by a wall of riot police and there are extensive reports of police brutality.
During the raid various items sacred to the Mendota Community were destroyed. The sacred fire was extinguished in violation of federal laws which protect Native American religious expression. The sun dance tipi was destroyed, and the sweat lodge, site of numerous ceremonies over the past 4 months of occupation, was burnt down. Governor Carlson was on site gloating to the press and warming himself by the fires of burning camp materials.
The protesters occupied the homes to block a new highway project intended to take a few minutes off the driving time from downtown Minneapolis to America's largest mall, the Mall of America. The highway will cut through a park, destroy homes and one of the last remaining examples of old growth oak Savannah as well as sites sacred to the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota community. Over the course of the last 4 months the Mendota have been fighting for federal recognition as part of their efforts to protect the oaks and a sacred spring from destruction. Sunday was the protesters 133rd day of continuous occupation, believed to be the longest running urban occupation in American history.