Minnesota Legislature Fence

Demonstrators place signs on the fence protecting the Minnesota State Capitol Wednesday, June 17, 2020 in St. Paul, Minn. 

(The Center Square) – The fence surrounding the Minnesota State Capitol is back and the building is closed to the public this week for planned protests estimated to bring thousands.

Bruce Gordon, the director of communications for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said the State Patrol requested the additional security measure.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Minnesota State Patrol has asked the Department of Administration to add fencing around the Capitol, just as it has for other recent large-scale events,” Gordon told The Center Square in an email. “Increased fencing helps the State Patrol protect people and property and doesn’t interfere with permitted, peaceful gatherings occurring at the Capitol.”

A Line 3 pipeline protest is scheduled for Wednesday followed by a medical freedom rally and a voting rights rally on Saturday, according to the public calendar.

There will also be an increased security presence during the week to facilitate safe events.

Curt Yoakum from the Department of Administration said the cost for installation and removal for a similar past fence was $72,000.

State Sen. Justin Eichorn, R-Grand Rapids, opposed re-erecting a fence.

“Minnesotans should be allowed to peacefully gather as they did before the pandemic,” he said in a Facebook post. “It doesn't matter if I agree or disagree with a particular protest group or not. We shouldn't be using our tax dollars to keep putting up barriers between the people and their government!”

Staff Reporter

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.