Dozens of women gathered outside of the Riverside Plaza apartment complex in Minneapolis on Friday, demanding better living conditions. The huge building at Cedar-Riverside may be the most recognizable apartment complex in all of Minnesota, but it's clear the tenants are not happy.
Protesters chanted "we need justice, we need rights," and voiced concerns that "they treat us like un-human beings." Several dozen Somali-American women are sending a message to building ownership that living conditions and the amenities here need to improve.
"People who live here are refugees," said Layla Mohamud. "We pay rent. Thousands of dollars of rent. And we don't get justice."
"Usually women just stay home in our culture," said Abdullahi Ahmed. "If women come out in our culture, there is a big reason – a big problem."
- Elevators are often broken, forcing families to climb stairs to upper floors.
- Rent has jumped in recent years, and long-time tenants are allegedly charged for needed maintenance work just to keep their apartments livable.
- Cars are apparently being towed at alarming rates, including vehicles belonging to people who pay $65 a month for a sticker and a space in the underground garage and adjacent surface lot.
"If I bring my groceries in front of the building, when I come back, my car is gone," Mohamud said. "They either give me a ticket or I am already towed."
Sherman Associates owns the landmark Riverside Plaza that towers over the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, where some 5,000 residents live in 6 buildings. The ownership group released a written statement to Fox 9 addressing the parking issues, saying they take great pride in ensuring the safety and comfort of their renters and that they met with the resident association on Friday and are "taking their concerns into consideration."
Riverside Rlaza is currently undergoing a $65 million renovation, with the parking changes a part of the final stages of that multi-year effort. Only time will tell if it's enough to satisfy this group of angry protesters.