Occupying across the state
The Occupy locations in North Carolina are going into their second week, with varying degrees of success in how much occupying they’ve been able to do.
Not the same can be said in Raleigh, where Occupy Raleigh is relegated to a city sidewalk.
In Charlotte, the protesters are looking to get some Port-a-Potties, according to a story this morning in the Charlotte Observer.
The temporary facilities are allowed for festivals such as Speed Street and Taste of Charlotte. Deputy Senior City Attorney Bob Hagemann wrote in an email the city views such festivals as offering “recreational, entertainment and economic benefits.”
Hagemann said the city respects, allows and protects First Amendment activities such as the Occupy Charlotte movement, but doesn’t view them as providing the same benefits as festivals.
“And while the demonstrators certainly have a constitutional right to demonstrate on public forum property such as the Old City Hall lawn, they do not have a constitutional right to erect or place temporary structures on public property that is open to everyone, not just the demonstrators.”
But getting a substantial space in the state capital in Raleigh has been a bit more challenging. A group hovering around two dozen has been hunkering down through the night on a sidewalk next to the State Capitol after state officials turned down an application for an extended permit on the actual capitol grounds.
Occupy Raleigh has resubmitted an application to the state, to run from Saturday through next Sunday, and is hoping the N.C. Department of Administration honor their request. Click here to read the group’s letter.
Stacie Borrello, a Fuquay Varina woman that’s applied to the state for the demonstration permit on behalf of Occupy Raleigh, said having a week-long presence would allow the group to grow, and emphasize how serious the issue of corporate influence is.
“We’ve seen no tangible progress on job creation from our national and state legislatures,”Borrello told NC Policy Watch. “We feel that having a four-hour demonstration and going home isn’t an effective way to prompt change.”
They’ve also started a petition here.
Borrello said the protesters have had inconsistent results from the Raleigh Police officers assigned to watch them. One officer, she said, told the group they couldn’t sit down on the sidewalk, including an elderly protester who had issues standing. The group is working with the city to ensure protesters’ First Amendment rights to peacefully assemble are respected.
Bob Geary at the Independent has been spending a lot of time with the protestors Occupy Raleigh, and had this great nugget about an 89-year-old Pinehurst WWII vet that came down to join, complete with his Ronald Reagan hat.
Meanwhile, an extremely dangerous figure arrived to reinforce the OccupyRaleigh troops today. World War II veteran Harris Skinner, a grizzled fighter who battled in North Africa and lived to tell the tale, arrived from Pinehurst armed with a sign (“WWII Vets for Integrity”), his cane, and wearing a “Reagan” cap and a sweater bearing the official US Open golf tournament insignia.