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Minneapolis activists have turned a former Sheraton into a shelter for unsheltered people displaced by the protests and curfew

INSIDER logoINSIDER 6/3/2020 anicoll@businessinsider.com (Alex Nicoll)
a group of people on a stage: Protesters rise their hands up during a demonstration in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 29, 2020, over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white policeman knelt on his neck for several minutes. CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images © CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images Protesters rise their hands up during a demonstration in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 29, 2020, over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white policeman knelt on his neck for several minutes. CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images
  • Minneapolis activists and unsheltered people have taken over the site of a former Sheraton, a mile from where George Floyd was killed, and turned it into a shelter, according to the Minneapolis Reformer.
  • Residents take turns cooking, cleaning, and defending the hotel. The owners have stayed to help out, but they aren't managing the site, instead letting the residents operate the building on its own.
  • Many of the residents came from a nearby homeless camp that had sprung up as Minneapolis closed public buildings. The site was cleared last Thursday because of its proximity to the protests.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Minneapolis activists have taken over a hotel less than a mile from where George Floyd and have turned it into an autonomous, community-run shelter for local unsheltered people, according to reporting from the Minneapolis Reformer's Max Nestarak.

The former Sheraton hotel became a sanctuary on Friday night, as the first night of curfew descended on Minneapolis. It now houses more than 200 people who also volunteer to cook, clean, and defend the building from the fires that have raged in this part of the city for almost a week. There is a waiting list more than 100-people long. 

The owners, planning to evacuate on Friday night, have instead stayed to help residents learn how to operate the hotel, according to Nestarak's reporting. 

"I don't know if they have slept yet," Rosemary Finster, one of the activists who helped to turn the hotel into a sanctuary, told Nestarak. 

 

The activists have found a source of funding to pay for the rooms, according to a tweet from one activists.

One resident, Abu Bakr, was living in a car that was lit on fire during the protests but has now taken up residence in the hotel.

Other residents came from a nearby homeless camp that was cleared on Thursday because of its proximity to the protests. The camp, dubbed "Camp Quarantine" by its residents, formed in April on land owned by the Metropolitan Council, the Twin Cities' regional planning organization.

The camp was created by residents who could no longer take shelter in libraries and other public buildings that had closed because of the pandemic, according to the Star Tribune's Greg Stanley. The camp had roughly 100 residents when it was cleared by the Metropolitan Council and the Metro Transit Police Department. The county, and Minneapolis nonprofit Avivo, found hotel rooms for some of the people in the encampment.

Other residents, yet again without shelter,  had to contend with the tense Minneapolis streets, the site of occasional looting and fires, and the response from the Minneapolis Police Department. Homeless people are technically exempted from the Minneapolis curfew, but homeless people across the country have seen violence from police before these protests

Now, many of them have come to this hotel, trading tents for queen-size beds. 

"People are organizing themselves. We take care of each other," Finster told Nestarak.

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