Union marchers swell ranks of OccupyMN protesters, join in march on banks

  • Article by: BOB VON STERNBERG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 29, 2011 - 4:21 PM

Union leaders headlined a day of OccupyMN street theater Saturday, capped when about 300 protesters marched peacefully across downtown Minneapolis, denouncing the region's three biggest banks.

"Banks got bailed out -- we got sold out!" was one of several chants delivered during the march.

Earlier, at the Hennepin County Government Center plaza, the local branch of the movement inspired by Occupy Wall Street got endorsements from several union leaders.

"We'll be in the streets until the one percent give up some of their wealth to the 99 percent," said Elliot Seide, who heads the union representing 40,000 state, county and municipal workers. "This protest is going to change this country. It ought to be all the people who share the wealth of this great nation."

Javier Morillo-Alicea, president of the union that represents 5,000 janitors, security guards and commercial housekeepers, told the crowd, "This movement will change this country," adding that its overarching goal is to have "the richest 1 percent pay their fair share."

"We need to stand up and yell and be the 99 percent," said Michelle Sommers, president of the union that represents Metro Transit bus drivers. "We need to get off our couches and start acting like the 99 percent."

The occupiers then marched through downtown streets to deliver cardboard coffins to the headquarters of the closed headquarters of TCF Bank, U.S. Bank and a drive-through branch of Wells Fargo Bank.

Shadowed by Minneapolis police and supported by horn-honking drivers, they alternated their chants:

"Hey, hey -- ho, ho. Corporate greed has got to go!"

"We are the 99 percent!"

"What does democracy look like? This is what democracy looks like!"

Well after the march, as the sun went down, the number of occupiers at the plaza had dwindled to fewer than 50.

Bob von Sternberg • 612-673-7184

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