Undaunted, Occupy COMO returns to city plaza

Thursday, November 24, 2011 | 5:33 p.m. CST; updated 11:29 a.m. CST, Friday, November 25, 2011
Paul Searles participates in the Occupy COMO Thanksgiving potluck on Thursday. Protesters brought back sleeping bags after having their personal property removed on Tuesday.

COLUMBIA – Paul Searles of Occupy COMO was playing drums in front of the Daniel Boone City Building on Thursday before helping himself to a Thanksgiving meal donated by supporters of the movement.

He and four other protesters ate roast chicken, cranberry sauce, croissants and pumpkin pie that had been donated by community members.

They were back for the second day after city workers removed a tent, sleeping bags, storage bins and other personal belongings from the downtown plaza on Tuesday morning. The city cited violations of an ordinance that addresses obstruction of public streets and sidewalks.

Despite the city's action, multiple sleeping bags were laid out or stacked up Thursday not far from the entrance to city hall.

Protester Cameron Jackson, 20, vowed to set up another tent after Thanksgiving and said he is considering a civil suit against the city.

"When they come and ask me to move the tent, I won’t move it," Jackson said. "I’m willing to resist to the point where it’s resisting arrest."

Ariel Ceara, a fellow protester, also questioned removal of the property. She said the ordinance was so vague as to make illegal the presence of anyone or anything on city space that isn't moving. 

Ceara said she was also unhappy with the way the city and the police portray Occupy COMO to the public. 

"They keep trying to make a distinction between us and the public – we are the public," she said. 

Jackson said he will participate in Occupy COMO until he feels his First Amendment rights are respected.

The Occupy COMO Thanksgiving echoed the way the holiday was spent at encampments across the country.

In San Francisco, hundreds of campers in the heart of the financial district ate turkey dinners delivered by volunteers, church charities and supporters of the movement against social and economic inequality, according to The Associated Press.

In New York, the protesters' Thanksgiving meal was interrupted by police who told a drummer at lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park to stop playing.  

About 200 of the 500 protesters surrounded officers and began shouting before they agreed to end the drumming.

The meals had been provided by restaurants and individual supporters.

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Harold Sutton November 24, 2011 | 7:11 p.m.

Wrong, Ariel. A few individuals do not comprise "the public". The public is the whole population of citizens. That is why all americans who are 18 yrs of age and older are encouraged to register and vote. Not just a few who declare that they are "the public".

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle November 24, 2011 | 8:38 p.m.

It's almost like cancer, and surgical removal doesn't seem to be working. The growth keeps coming back. Shall we try chemo next? Oh wait, been there, done that, too:

Now what? With the abject failure of the Stupor Committee, it may be time to accept our fate and look to hospice care.

Wealthy oligarchs: America's true death panel.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield November 24, 2011 | 9:18 p.m.

When will the Occupy folks have the guts to march on the Grasslands, the Old Southwest and other wealthy neighborhoods? "But I'm not rich!" pleads the retired chair. Alas, he is in their eyes as they take what they believe they deserve to have.

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 24, 2011 | 9:42 p.m.

"It's almost like cancer, and surgical removal doesn't seem to be working." No, imo it is more like a common cold. Many folks get it, but by "taking care of themselves", these folks are able to overcome the relative minor discomforts inflicted.

How about, forgive us the soliloquy and tell us what these people want? Aside of course, from Mr Jackson, who states he"will participate in Occupy COMO until he feels his First Amendment rights are respected." (A noble cause if I ever heard of one)

(Report Comment)
Cecil Caulkins November 25, 2011 | 6:05 a.m.

I assume it was supposed to be heartwarming that people brought food to the campers. I'd have been more impressed if the story had been about campers who went out and helped feed people who were really in need. MSNBC carried a similar story. These folks are unwilling to walk the walk, but they surely talk the talk!

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking November 25, 2011 | 7:06 a.m.

The issue is not whether city hall is a public place. Of course it is, and Occupy is a legal protest. However, city hall is not a campground. It's not set up for people to live there.

What will happen to your protest if someone dies of exposure some chill January night? We've had a pretty mild fall so far. I would think it more rational to take this inside until March or so. Protest during the day, and go home (or to a shelter, or whereever one goes to get out of the weather).


(Report Comment)

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