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Occupy COMO's belongings removed without incident from city hall

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | 2:06 p.m. CST; updated 5:51 p.m. CST, Tuesday, November 22, 2011
On Tuesday morning, Clayton Fish, foreground, of the maintenance department for Columbia, washes the ground with a pressure washer, while Kent Branson and Brian Scull help him scrub off stains in front of the Daniel Boone City Building. Branson, the city's building and ground supervisor, said that John Glascock, director of Public Works, ordered the clean up.

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COLUMBIA — City workers power-washed the plaza in front of the Daniel Boone City Building on Tuesday morning. The tent, sleeping bags and plastic storage bins that had been there as part of the Occupy COMO protest for two months were gone.

Building maintenance workers and a few Columbia police officers came to city hall at about 11 a.m. to remove the group’s belongings, said Nicholas Berry, a protester.

The group is still allowed to protest but cannot store items in front of city hall. Police officers videotaped the removal, but did not otherwise interact with the protesters or the cleanup.

"Both parties were very congenial," Jill Stedem, public information specialist for the city, said. "It wasn't any hostile takeover."

About two protesters were in the plaza when city officials arrived to clean up, Stedem said. Once the belongings were gone, maintenance workers worked to remove stains on the concrete and limestone.

City workers removed belongings that hadn't been claimed by any of the protesters, she said, and the tent and other items were placed in a secure storage area owned by the city. If anyone wants to claim their items they must contact the city's Public Works Department.

Much of the debate focused on an artistic tent. No one slept in the tent, which was there as a form of protest. The placement of the tent and other items were said to violate city ordinances, according to a previous Missourian report.

The group plans to return to protest and has contacted an attorney, Berry said.

John Glascock, director of Public Works, informed the group on Thursday morning that they must move their belongings by Monday. The group didn't remove the tent and several other items, but on Monday morning, they did sweep up leaves and debris including trash and cigarette butts.


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Comments

Aaron Rogier November 22, 2011 | 2:47 p.m.

At least the buildings and maintenance department was fairly civil about removing a lawful protest from a public place. It's interesting how they waited for the students to leave MU for Thanksgiving.

This doesn't mean it wasn't a dick move on Mr. Glasscock's part for ordering the removal of belongings used in support of a lawful protest.

(Report Comment)
Gerald Shelnutt November 22, 2011 | 4:01 p.m.

I believe it is against the law to block public sidewalks therefore Mr. Glascock should have ordered it much sooner.

(Report Comment)

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