One of the volunteers standing in front of a makeshift barricade. (Elijah Todd-Walden/BLCK press)
Dozens of people arrived at “The Quarry” homeless encampment in northeast Minneapolis early Wednesday morning to stop city police from forcing residents to relocate. Well before the sun rose dozens of people had arrived, passing out hand warmers and coffee.
The city had notified the camp's residents a week prior that they would be evicted Wednesday morning. That sparked a backlash from Minneapolis residents, with the hashtag #noevictions trending on Twitter in Minnesota. Homeless encampments are illegal in Minneapolis.
Despite freezing temperatures, the neighborhood volunteers placed a makeshift barricade made from pallets, tarps and a porta-potty to stop the police from tearing down tents.
“What Jacob Frey and the city are doing, it’s like Whack-A-Mole” said a volunteer named Kip, who asked to have his last name withheld for safety. “Pushed from one place to the next, with no plan at all. The only plan is to crush people, take all of their stuff and push them into despair.”
Ultimately the police never showed. A statement put out by the City of Minneapolis later in the day stated: “...It was clear to us that there was an intention to have a violent confrontation with City staff over this encampment. As a result, and in keeping with the City's commitment to de-escalation, the closure has been postponed.”
The statement went on to say that there were beds ready and waiting for all those currently living at the encampment, but that so far everyone had declined alternative shelter options.
“You don’t have to have a house to be a person.” A volunteer named Seagull said, “I don’t understand why our society is making life the hardest for the people that are having the hardest time living.”
City staff did not indicate when the encampment eviction will now take place.