Minnesota Public Radio (excerpts):
Minneapolis — Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Minneapolis Friday for the opening of the OccupyMN demonstration, patterned after weeks of protest in New York’s financial district.
The protest featured an appearance by Independence Party and former Gov. Jesse Ventura, who spoke as people started to gather. He compared the gatherings in New York, Minneapolis and around the country to recent revolutions around the world.
“I hope that this country can step forward and follow the leads that have happened in the Middle East to many of the Arab countries where people’s movements rose up and you see the results of them,” Ventura said.
He said he hopes the Occupy movement brings change to the U.S.
“It hasn’t yet, but if it continues and grows it will. Absolutely. And I hope that it does,” Ventura said.
He’s one of the most prominent former elected officials to speak to an Occupy rally. Former U.S. Sen. Dean Barkley attended the gathering hailed the efforts of the protesters, as did current state Rep. Jim Davnie, DFL-Minneapolis.
At about 2pm, demonstrators walked away from the Hennepin county government center and headed for the Federal Reserve Bank offices on Hennepin Avenue.
IPR notes (per wikipedia):
Dean Malcolm Barkley (born August 31, 1950) is a politician who briefly served as a member of the United States Senate from Minnesota following the death of Paul Wellstone. A founder and chair of the Minnesota Reform Party (the predecessor of the Independence Party of Minnesota), he chaired Jesse Ventura’s successful 1998 gubernatorial campaign; Ventura subsequently appointed him director of the state’s Office of Strategic and Long Range Planning. Barkley ran as the Independence Party’s candidate for the Senate in 2008, coming third to Al Franken and Norm Coleman.
(Jesse) Ventura ran for Governor of Minnesota in 1998 as the nominee for the Reform Party of Minnesota (he later joined the Independence Party of Minnesota when the Reform Party broke from its association with the Reform Party of the United States of America). His campaign consisted of a combination of aggressive grassroots events and original television spots, designed by quirky adman Bill Hillsman, using the phrase “Don’t vote for politics as usual.” He spent considerably less than his opponents (about $300,000) and was a pioneer in his using the Internet as a medium of reaching out to voters in a political campaign.
He won the election in November 1998, narrowly (and unexpectedly) defeating the major-party candidates, St. Paul mayor Norm Coleman (Republican) and Minnesota Attorney General Hubert H. “Skip” Humphrey III (Democratic-Farmer-Labor).