Occupying Raleigh, for at least a few hours

The grassroots Occupy Wall Street movement will be front and center in North Carolina’s capital city tomorrow, but only have a four-hour slot allotted to them for the protest.

It’s unclear if the leaderless movement, loosely organized around the growing frustrations of government putting corporate interests ahead of everyday citizens, will stick to that plan.

The Twitter user “OccupyRaleigh,” which has been the main account for the group here, sent out posts this morning saying that protesters will be trying to extend that time, and attempt to set up a camp in downtown Raleigh.

“We will be occupying indefinitely starting this Saturday! indefinitely! If you’d like to occupy over night please bring sleeping bag/warm blanket, roll and food for Sat night. Reg meals start Sun morning :),” read OccupyRaleigh’s 7 a.m. Twitter post.

At least 800 people have indicated they’ll be coming to tomorrow’s protest, via the group’s Facebook page. Legal observers who aren’t directly participating are planning to come to tomorrow’s event as well, to make sure no one’s First Amendment rights are trampled.

But a permit to occupy the N.C. Capitol grounds in Raleigh was limited to just a few hours, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., by the N.C. Department of Administration.

If people try to stay longer, law enforcement will have to make a decision about how to handle the situation, said Jill Lucas, the administration department’s spokeswoman, which issued the permit to use the public grounds. Raleigh police will likely be assisting the State Capitol Police, the police force used to patrol state property in Raleigh, at Saturday’s event.

The citizen-led group had hoped to get a permit for a temporary encampment to run through Nov. 5, but that was turned down by state officials.

This year’s state budget cuts – which included cutting the State Capitol Police force to half its previous size – makes it impossible for the state to allow for three-week campground to pop up on the historic state Capitol in downtown Raleigh, Lucas said.

But Lucas emphasized that the state has only had pleasant dealings with the Occupiers, and don’t expect any problems.

“They’ve been very polite,” Lucas said. “We have no reason to think they’ll do anything but adhere to the procedures they signed off on.”

The leaderless Occupy movement expanded from its beginnings in Occupy Wall Street and has attracted a wide range of followers gathered under the general theme of wanting less corporate influence and privilege in American society.  Other North Carolina cities with Occupy movements include Asheville, Durham and Charlotte.

In Charlotte, protesters have been able to camp out and plan on having a march tomorrow at 3 p.m. at the city’s old City Hall. Several hundred people came out for a protest and march on the Bank of America headquarters last week. The group is using the Twitter hashtag #occupyclt to organize.

Click here to see a copy of Occupy Raleigh’s application, and the state’s turn down letter for the campground. (The redactions were by N.C. Policy Watch, we figured that Stacie Borrello, one of the Occupy Raleigh organizers, wouldn’t want her phone number and address floating all over the Internet.)

Want to find out more?

The group has been organizing on it’s Facebook page, website and using the Twitter account @OccupyRaleigh.

Tell us what you think. Are you coming? Why or why not? Should protesters be allowed to camp out, as they have in other cities?

11 Comments

  1. Dani

    October 14, 2011 at 11:50 am

    I’m glad that local groups are forming to stand in peaceful solidarity with the protesters Occupying Wall Street. I’m excited about this moment, plus about meeting new people who share similar ideas about what changes our communities want to see. I’ll be there.

  2. Eunice

    October 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    The thing they should really be protesting is that stupid war in Afghanistan that is costing us $12 billion a month. How long are going to stay there ?

  3. CJ

    October 14, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    There are also Occupy Movements in Greensboro and Winston-Salem and Asheville, all with events planned for this weekend…

  4. Sarah Ovaska

    October 14, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Thanks CJ. If you can have the dates, times and places, I can put that up as well. You can either post right here, or email me at sarah@ncpolicywatch.com.

  5. Bryan

    October 14, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Do you guys even know what you are protesting about?

    Sounds like a bunch pf people that are mad that they don’t have anything, so they want the Government to step and give them something. Take away one persons wealth and give it to the biggest cry baby.

    And here is thought for you, if you don’t like corporate America. Then go out and start your own business, then you can quit your job that corporate America gave to you.

    And if you don’t like the banks, then close all your accounts and start using cash only.

    But until you guys stop being a bunch of babies and hypocrites. I am afraid no one will take you seriously.

    If fact you guys are just the “T Shirt of the Week”. No leadership, no real message and no clue about what the problem is much less how to solve it.

    Fun fact: America made a profit from the banks when they paid back the tarp money. America lost almost 20 billion dollars in GM bail out. Whoops I guess you guys don’t want to talk about that ;)

  6. Sk00L

    October 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Hmm I would like to pick and choose some of occupy Raleigh’s demands as they are listed right on occupyraleigh org. I agree something needs to happen, capping campaign contributions, special interest groups and the ilk. I would suggest that occupyraleigh take the time to rethink some of its wording and stance when it comes to deifying the rich not all of them are bad or trying to usurp the system and more then likely you will need the help of the rich patriots to accomplish your goal. $250k is not what it used to be or at all to be considered rich, try living in California, NYC, Boston, etc. I know plenty of people that make that collectively and though I would consider some of them well to do in most cases they are not rich as they have been portrayed. Most work damn hard for what they have earned. 2nd of all, the American jobs act makes you clearly have an agenda for a side; right or left this needs to be about America and Americans not a left vs right ideology. Clearly the truly wealthy do need to be addressed but I also would like to point out that the top 5% of wealth pays almost 60% of all the taxes in this country and though I support your movement, you will risk your support base if you don’t address this and alienate people that are fed up with the status quo as well who worked hard for what they earned. Build bridges, unite people, return the power to the people, and invite everyone to join. Reduce influence, fight injustice, and laws that clearly favor one persons power over another in our republic.

    Some of the movement seems like misguided collage students that have not yet earned a degree or accomplished a thing are heading this movement up in many places and sure it will make a show but in my opinion will accomplish nothing. No statesmen in the mix, little education, a lot of outrage, and misguided approaches to accomplish their goals is all I see. Learn some history (i am not going to educate you) return liberty to the people, and protect the rights of everyone instead of whining things aren’t fair cause you were raised in the public school system in the last 20 years which tried to prepare the world for you not you for the world.

    That being said, good luck I sincerely hope you find a way to increase liberty for us all and don’t move us further down the path of socialism.

  7. Sarcastro

    October 14, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    I’m going to go Occupy the bathroom at the Capital and have my Movement there…

  8. Jimmy

    October 14, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    My Grandfather always said never protest something you don’t understand !

  9. david esmay

    October 14, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Bryan, as of right now, there’s still 94 billion in TARP that has not been repaid, and another 1.2 trillion that went out the back door of the Fed that hasn’t been repaid. The main things they are protesting, corporate and political assaults on the middle class, the high cost of education, and high un-employment are concerns we all have. I support them and their right to free speech 100%. Dissent, and the right to dissent is what gave America it’s existence. Putting a time limit on it shows what a police state we live in.

  10. [...] 12 by North Carolina Department of Administration. A spokesperson for the department, Jill Lucas, cited budget cuts to the State Capitol Police force as a primary reason for denying the permit. This sets the stage for the State Capitol police and [...]

  11. Jack

    October 17, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Bryan, where have you been the past few year?

    Remember when Wall St. did its thing and brought the world economic system to its knees? Remember when corporate America mismanaged its business so poorly it needed to enact a system of Government social welfare to survive?

    The protest isn’t anti corporate or anti Wall St. but rather pro-government free of corporate influence. The protest message has been clear.

    The American people went through this very thing in the 1920s. Corporate America and Wall St. were de-regulated and national budget was cut to the bone and the American people lost their shirts because of the actions of a relative few.