occupy 1 First Occupy Midwest Conference This WeekendST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – They’re back, and they’ve brought friends.

Occupy St. Louis is welcoming members of Occupy movements from 18 other cities across the Midwest to town this weekend for the first ever regional Occupy conference. The event kicks off Thursday morning with registration, and then at 5:00 pm occupiers will be marching from Kiener Plaza downtown to the Arch grounds, for the first Occupy Midwest General Assembly.

The hope of some of the members if that a larger group from across the region will give a more legitimate voice to the organization.

“we realized to take the Occupy movement to the next level, we all needed to get to get together and form the kind of communication structure that will help us plan regional and national actions and give us a unified voice,” said Rachael Perrotta of Occupy Chicago.

The conference will touch on issues central to Midwestern communities. One big focus is agriculture, so the group is planning an action on Monsanto on Friday. This is part of a larger call to action on the company from Occupy Wall Street.

“We’re focusing on big agribusiness and the way it’s destroying the future of the food supply,” Perrotta said.

There will be general meetings in Tower Grove Park this weekend, but there’s no set place where everyone will be staying.

“I think it’s safe to expect to see a few tents around the St. Louis area,” said Zach Chasnoff of Occupy St. Louis.

Chasnoff said there will be an action on Thursday aimed at taking down Bank of America, but wouldn’t share how, when or what time that would happen. He also wouldn’t give details on the two other actions the group had planned.

The website for the event gives a detailed schedule for the weekend. Teaching sessions in non-violence, community action and keynote speakers are planned for the weekend.

So while most of St. Louis is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, the Occupy movement will be calling for action in the Midwest.

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