Why Police Will Send "Occupy Duluth" Protesters Home Sunday

By KBJR News 1

November 17, 2011 Updated Nov 17, 2011 at 9:46 PM CST

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The Occupy Duluth protesters have been told they have to be out of the Civic Center with their belongings by Sunday at 11:59 p.m., or face eviction by Duluth police.

A letter delivered to protestors says failure to comply to city park ordinances will result in arrests.

Outside the police press conference Thursday in West Duluth protesters waited.

"We went to go to see if we could speak and have our voices heard and they wouldn't let us in," said occupier Chad Johnson.

Inside the meeting, Police Chief Gordon Ramsay gave the rundown.

"On November 9th we presented an offer to get the group compliant. This included assisting them to obtain the permits to allow one remaining tent, but the members had to obey park ordinances, specifically no camping and the curfew."

He says the Occupy Duluth's group dynamics have changed.

"Seems to be a greater number of anarchists that are around and some of the ah, well you can see it on the postings online," said Ramsay.

The chief says some of those posting were quote, "weapons-related."

"There is nobody violent in our group. There is people on Facebook, who have gotten fake accounts to try to cause problems in our camp," said Johnson.

The chief says ongoing negotiations with the group haven't worked.

"We thought we were making progress, we worked with the intent of good will figuring that that would get us somewhere, and it hasn't gotten us anywhere," said Ramsay.

"It seemed like they were there for us, but suddenly it seems like it was false front," said Johnson.

"I mean, we have to enforce the ordinances. We cannot look the other way," said Ramsay.

Some occupiers have pushed buttons. For example, after being told to remove a tent from a space there were told they couldn't occupy, they replaced it with lawn toys, such as a badmitten net and horseshoes.

"No one can say the City of Duluth has not worked in earnest through this," said Ramsay.

"We are peaceably assembled and we are strong," said Johnson.

For now the occupiers are holding their ground.

Thursday, the occupiers met to discuss what they plan to do from here on out and whether they will go quietly by midnight Sunday.

On Sunday, they would still be able to protest, just not camp.

Protesters would be able to use the single tent as a sort of warming-house for daytime protests and that's if they get it proper permits from the city.

Posted to Web by Jena Pike
jpike@northlandsnewscenter.com