Mayor tells Occupy Syracuse to leave
Tue, 17 Jan 2012 15:41:53 GMT —
Occupy Syracuse protestors are planning to see police bright and early on Wednesday morning. They have been given 24 hours to leave their camp on South Salina Street, where they have been for months.
Tuesday night, the group was planning logistics, talking about how they'd react to police evicting them, counting how many are willing to get arrested for their cause and wondering how they'll raise money to bail their colleagues out of jail.
Tuesday morning, Mayor Miner and Syracuse Fire Chief Mark McLees asked protestors to vacate within 24 hours, citing safety concerns. But not everyone plans to leave. "I'm definitely going to stand my ground. This is a hiccup not a hindrance to the movement," said occupier Kaitlyn Shanahan.
The Mayor's office says Miner has met with the protestors several times and warned them about possible safety hazards.
Chief McLees says there was a 911 call on January 8 about a carbon monoxide problem at the camp's location. On January 9, McLees says he went down to the camp and found numerous fire and safety hazards. He says the protestors were notified and fire crews left them alone for a week to correct the violations.
This past weekend, McLees says, members of the fire department conducted unannounced checks of the Occupy Syracuse camp. He says items including propane tanks, heaters, and candles were confiscated, and city officials decided the camp needed to be shut down.
"I have the knowledge that they're doing something unsafe," says McLees. "I can't allow it to continue."
"They have a fundamental right to assemble and protest. They don't have a fundamental right to set up structures and camp out 24/7 in a public place," said Barrie Gewanter with the New York Civil Liberties Union. "But the city has allowed them to do that for months and has not required them to request a permit."
On Tuesday, protestors at the camp were making signs and encouraging drivers to honk in support of their cause. They say they have corrected the violations and are now in compliance with the city regulations. Many say they were surprised when they were notified the camp was being shut down.
"I think in the back of our minds, having seen what happens to other camps across the country, it was always a possibility, but I'm disappointed," says Judy Blanco, who has been living at the camp since November.
"I will be down here even after the tents are gone. The tents are just tents," said occupier Jeremy Bailey. "You can take it down but you can't take away my freedom."
"I'm not going anywhere," says Jon Grey, who has been at the camp for 105 days. "They can come here and fight us if they want to. They can take away our tents if they want to, but it's our constitutional right to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
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On Facebook, " data-hovercard="/ajax/hovercard/user.php?id=1310598418"}Brenda Alleyezonme Fink commented saying, "the Mayor should worry about doing something good for the city, she acts as if she is a dictator, leave them alone cause they arent hurting anyone."