City to crack down on Occupy St. Louis

10:33 PM, Nov 10, 2011   |    comments
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By Courtney Gousman

St. Louis (KSDK) - A number of Occupy St. Louis backers say they're prepared to get arrested.

Thursday afternoon the city issued notice that Kiener Plaza's curfew and tent regulations will be enforced effective 3 p.m. Friday afternoon, but many protestors tell NewsChannel 5, the threat of police won't make them move.

The flyers were handed out Thursday afternoon by the Parks Department, giving the warning. Although several occupiers have decided to stick to their guns, they vow not to resort to violence.

Cheryl Compton is getting her things in order. She's been living out of a tent in Kiener Plaza for more than a month, part of the Occupy St. Louis movement. Now that city leaders have warned police could come on Friday to enforce the 10 p.m. curfew and force these tents to come down, Compton says she's got to go.

"I am behind the revolution completely, but I prefer not to be arrested," said Compton.

Other occupiers feel a bit differently. Brian Staack was arrested several weeks ago, for violating the park's curfew, while protesting. He says he's not moving his tent.

"It would kind of render my previous point pointless if I were to just pack it up and go," said Staack.

"I'm willing to go to jail right now. We don't care about a curfew because we're occupying St. Louis," said occupier Pierce Holmes.

Occupiers will still be allowed to assemble in Kiener Plaza during the day.

"They can be in Kiener Plaza from six in the morning until till 10 p.m. every day. They can be on the sidewalk marching around Kiener Plaza 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Eddie Roth, Chief Performance Officer for the City of St. Louis.

When asked when exactly police will be called in, NewsChannel 5 was given no clear answer by Roth.

"It could happen anytime after 3 p.m. tomorrow. I don't want to say anything that would make the police's job any more difficult," said Roth.

The city is now proposing an alternative spot for occupiers to gather 24/7. It's at Gateway Mall, on Market right across from the downtown post office. Aides for the Mayor say no tents will be allowed there either, and in order for occupiers to stay there, city aldermen have to approve lifting the curfew.

"We're trying to find a place that's still centrally located and isn't in a high demand park for many other groups," said Roth.

"We feel like the whole camping out process is the whole thing for occupy," said Holmes.

The A.C.L.U. is now working to set-up a meeting with the chief of police Friday in the hopes of tempering any confrontation that might take place.

Occupiers are planning a march to the Arch Friday morning at 10 a.m.



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