Pioneer Park November 12, 2001.
Gallivan Center November 12, 2001.
Occupy SLC has exactly fifteen minutes to decamp or the SLPD will begin arresting protesters. Since the death of a homeless man yesterday evening at the park, Cheif Burbank (on orders from Mayor Becker) issued an eviction notice, stating health and safety issues. In an official statement from the Mayor's office, Becker promised that free speech will be protected, but camping permits will no longer be issued.
I am watching local news waiting for news, but football wrap up shows dominate.
I was in the city earlier today taking pictures of the camps at Pioneer Park and the Gallivan Center. (I'll post the pics a little later). People were standing in groups outside their tents, the tent kitchen was serving food, and I saw numerous people coming and going, dropping off donations. It didn't look like the hundred plus protesters were planning on going anywhere.
On the way out of town I drove by the park I saw a few police cars and police milling around, a few officers speaking with small circles of people. As I left SLC, the snow had just begun to fall.
I was listening to Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, possibly the most beautifully meloncholy piece of music, and burst into tears. It took to Bountiful to gather myself. Politics aside, I am moved.
4 News just reported that police are in force at Pioneer Park and intend to arrest anyone refusing to leave on their own volition.
The protesters have five minutes to leave.
Protesters are chanting, "We are 99 percent". Lights from the fleet of police cars lining 4th South are flashing. A policeman on a megaphone is instructing the crowd to disperse. Police are threatening arrests while journalists interview individual protesters. A young man says "they want their voices heard...that they're not going take it anymore". Chief Burbank said " the city is supportive of free speech, but that protesters will no longer be allowed to camp overnight".
What I know, is that Occupy is not going away. This movement reminds me of what I've read and the programs I've seen on the beginnings of the 60's protests. The groundswell started small, was disparate and seemingly disorganized, then as now. The political leaders dismissed and demonized the protests and protesters. The news barely reported the protests, until the voices were too numerous and too vocal to dismiss.
So far, the park looks peaceful.
CNN U.S. reported that Salt Lake City police arrested nineteen protesters Saturday night.
The Christian Science Monitor reported about police evicting protesters, Salt Lake City included.
The New York Times reported that protesters around the country are shifting from taking it to the streets to taking it to college campuses. Everybody, take your shoes off and get comfortable, Occupy is here for the long haul.