The Occupy Wall Street movement, now in its sixth week of protesting corporate greed, political corruption and income inequality (among other things), has spread far and wide. To date, more than 185 cities across the United States and around the world have staged “Occupy” protests, with varied reactions and results.
Some protests have been peaceful, such as the good-natured water pistol battle between police and protestors in Toronto, while others have been violent, such as the recent incident in Oakland during which a Marine veteran was critically injured after being struck in the head by a tear-gas canister fired from near point-blank range.
And in most of the cities, there have been a number of arrests, mostly for trespassing or violating posted curfew ordinances in the occupied parks. Such has been a major source of controversy up the road in Nashville where, after three weeks of peaceful protesting, state officials (at the urging of Gov. Haslam) began arresting dozens of protestors camped out in Legislative Plaza.
Here in Chattanooga, though, it seems as though those sympathetic to the Occupy cause are a bit more polite than in other cities, or at least more attentive to obeying the law. Several of the organizers of Occupy Chattanooga went before the Chattanooga City Council last week to inquire where they might set up without getting into any legal trouble.
What they were told was that city parks all had curfews and did not allow overnight camping, though it was pointed out by several protesters that city police seemingly do not enforce the curfews in regards to the homeless who have basically taken over Miller Park downtown.
And apparently emboldened by the publicity from their picketing, combined with a fairly healthy turnout for the “Rally for Jobs, A Living Wage and Public Education” on Saturday, a larger group announced plans to return to the city council this week and, for all intents and purpose, occupy City Hall (or at least the public portions). Unfortunately, our press deadline hits before the Tuesday night meeting, but rest assured we will have all the latest info on the result of that call for occupation in the Pulse Blog on our newly redesigned website at chattanoogapulse.com