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"Peacefully Assembled" Occupy Nashville protesters may be ousted from TN Legislative Plaza

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doeriver Donating Member (677 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 08:04 AM
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"Peacefully Assembled" Occupy Nashville protesters may be ousted from TN Legislative Plaza
Occupy Nashville protesters may be ousted from Legislative Plaza
Some say they will stand their ground
4:45 AM, Oct. 27, 2011

Occupy Nashville protesters say theyve been ordered out of Legislative Plaza by the state after a three-week occupation.

Protesters say theyre willing to be arrested rather than comply. They say theyve been given until 8 p.m. today to evacuate.

The order to evacuate came from state General Services Commissioner Steven Cates during a meeting called by Occupy Nashville to discuss ongoing security problems on the plaza.

Cates, who was joined by representatives of the capitol facilities office and the Tennessee Highway Patrol, told the group that their presence on the plaza was presenting a danger to public safety, according to protesters.

Cates was unavailable for comment Wednesday night. THP representatives deferred comment to his office.

At an emergency assembly Wednesday night, dozens of protesters announced that they were willing to be arrested rather than evacuate.

Whose plaza? Our plaza! protesters chanted. At least 50 moved into a group to indicate that they were willing to go to jail.

We need to be here until they physically remove us, and then return the next day, shouted protester Jeremiah Carter. Several other cities have taken steps to eject protesters in recent days, including Atlanta and Oakland where police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at the crowds.

Like other Occupy Wall Street protest groups, Occupy Nashville operates by group consensus, and the consensus of the group Wednesday was that they would not willingly leave although they agreed that our resistance will be dignified and nonviolent.

This would be the first direct confrontation between Occupy Nashville and law enforcement. While protests in other cities have clashed with police, protesters here have been appealing for a greater police presence on the plaza. Activists have been occupying Legislative Plaza since Oct. 7, and with every week security concerns have grown.

Crowds of homeless people have been attracted to the encampment, drawn by the free food, blankets and camaraderie the movement offers its volunteers. But while some homeless activists have joined in, others have been starting fights and stealing from the occupiers.

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