What’s making news in Minneapolis, reported by the Star Tribune’s team of city reporters. Send news tips to suzanne.ziegler@startribune.com.

Johnson tables plaza restriction, cites "diminishing problem"

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: May 16, 2012 - 3:21 PM

Occupy Minnesota activists won a small victory Wednesday afternoon when Council President Barb Johnson indefinitely tabled her own effort to bar overnight activity in public plazas.

Johnson's resolution would have barred activity in Minneapolis' public plazas between midnight and 6 a.m. After two public hearings, it was slated for a vote Wednesday -- but Johnson pulled it at the last minute.

Members of the Occupy Minnesota movement, who have been sleeping and demonstrating in Peavey Plaza along the Nicollet Mall, appeared Wednesday to show their opposition. A giant sign was displayed reading:

"Free to Assemble! Freedom to Speak! All day! All week!"

"It seems to me that at this point we are dealing with a relatively diminishing problem," Johnson said. "And I remain extremely concerned, however, about the use of police resources when I represent a community that is challenged with public safety issues.

"And just think that we're spending a lot of time babysitting people. But if that's kind of what people want to do, at this point it's -- as I say -- a relatively small number of people. So I think we can postpone this."

The resolution was postponed indefinitely rather than pulled altogether. Johnson said she would still like to review data being prepared by the City Attorney's office on plaza rules in other cities.

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