The Occupiers camped out at Founder’s Square Park in downtown Louisville will get to keep their tents for a few more days than expected, but there’s no guarantee beyond that. The issue is headed to court Jan. 6.
With their current special event permit set to expire on New Year’s Eve, the city recently issued a new one that allowed for demonstrators to congregate at the small park during the day. But tents and camping will no longer be allowed, making it difficult to stay overnight, essentially taking away the symbolism of this movement.
Occupy Louisville is an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street protests. The group is advocating for economic equality for all. They also hope to expose the plight of the homeless.
Originally, the city demanded all tents disappear by Jan. 2. The reasons were somewhat predictable: safety, complaints (polite ways of saying downtown residents and workers don’t want to hear or see them anymore). See this LEO article for more.
On Wednesday, an attorney working for Occupy Louisville filed a motion for an injunction in circuit court in an effort to appeal the city’s permit modification.
It reads (in part):
“If the City bans tents, then many of the participants will likely leave, or in the alternative, be forced to spend considerably less time ‘occupying.’ Those remaining would do so at considerable risk given the expected drop in temperatures in the coming months … There is no effective alternative to ‘occupation.’ The purpose of this organization is to illustrate themes of inequitable distribution of wealth and economic injustice. By occupying the city of Louisville in a visible location, on public land, the movement is able to demonstrate an egalitarian, non-hierarchical organization that serves as an example of an alternate vision for society as a whole.
A spokesman for Mayor Fischer says there’s no rush to get them out by that Jan. 2 date. By all accounts, no one (neither Occupiers nor city leaders) wants confrontation, tear gas in campers’ eyes or (in Fischer’s case) on his hands. Occupiers have said they’re willing to get arrested.
Protestors in other nearby cities may come into town next week and stand with their fellow 99 percent.
Stay tuned …