Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and her husband Marcus were ushered through a back door Saturday as several dozen Occupy Des Moines protesters descended on her suburban Urbandale headquarters chanting slogans and banging drums.
Urbandale Police said they made 10 arrests after a scuffle broke out between some of the protesters and members of Bachmann’s advance security detail. Two of those detained were juveniles, and one was identifiedy by police as Peter Grinsell of Vadnais Heights, Minn. One of the juveniles had been arrested in previous Des Moines area protests, according to fellow protesters.
Bachmann, addressing campaign workers after the demonstration broke up, joked that the protesters were “Barack Obama’s reelection advance team,” a sign of the fear she said Democrats have of her campaign.
The demonstrators, arriving in two brightly painted school buses, forced security and campaign workers to lock down the office moments before the Minnesota Republican’s scheduled appearance to meet with volunteers and telephone supporters ahead of Tuesday’s Republican caucuses.
The demonstrators chanted, “Michele Bachmann, come on out, see what Occupy is all about!” as they crowded around the front glass doors of her office. At the time, Bachmann had yet to arrive in a private car. When she did, moments later, she was taken around the back of the building, which was clear of protesters.
The demonstrators, who were cleared out within a half hour by about 10 uniformed police officers, said they planned to protest peacefully at other presidential campaign offices during the day.
“We’re occupying the caucuses to get them to talk about the issues,” said Chris Gaunt, a protester from Grinnell, Iowa. She faulted the police for making “unnecessary” arrests outside Bachmann’s office.
Urbandale Police Lt. Kent Knopf said the protesters were arrested for trespassing on what constituted private property in the suburban shopping mall where Bachmann’s office is located.
About a dozen of the protesters came from Minnesota. One of them identified himself as Charlie Mcawesome, 23, of Minneapolis. “She’s a Minnesotan,” he said of Bachmann, “and she doesn’t represent our values.”
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