"Occupy" Protesters Again Test City Ban On Camping
A small contingent of Occupy Charlotte protesters returned to the lawn of Old City Hall yesterday to commemorate the one year anniversary of their encampment. The city council banned camping on public property in January and evicted Occupiers who'd been living on the lawn for several months.
Last night about a dozen protesters set up two tents on the lawn as a symbol of their protest and were again evicted by police. Deborah Alexander was arrested.
"I was sitting in the doorway of the tent," says Alexander. "They asked me to take my tent down and leave and I said, 'Uh no. I'm exercising my freedom of speech and assembly.' They proceeded to arrest me."
Alexander was charged with violating the no-camping ordinance. However, she says the group had no clothing or gear for camping or sleeping and were merely sitting in the tent to get out of the rain. Four Occupy Charlotte protesters arrested during the eviction in January made similar arguments in court and were found "not guilty."
Members of the Occupy movement say they'll continue to challenge the city ordinance.