Clock ticking on Occupy Dallas encampment

Print
Email
|

by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on November 14, 2011 at 6:27 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 14 at 10:07 PM

DALLAS — For 40 days, we've watched them camp behind City Hall.

Occupy Dallas protesters have grown in numbers as tension built with police. Last week, city officials told them to clean up their act or lose their campsite.

A judge allowed them to stay through the weekend, but Occupy's time could be running out.

At a hearing Tuesday morning, the group hopes to secure a restraining order to keep the city from kicking them out. As the demonstrators conduct goes back to court, there's impatience at their camp and inside City Hall.

With the city threatening to remove the protesters, there are flashes of stress among the occupiers. Police gave one man at the camp, Augusta Bailey, an assault citation for allegedly fighting with another Occupy protester.

Fellow occupiers then wanted him out... and certainly not heard.

"This man is a criminal," one protester yelled at Bailey and our News 8 crew. "For you to be giving [him] attention is ridiculous, because he's going to feed you full of lies."

But they confirmed that they had all been at the City Hall site together for weeks.

At a Tuesday hearing in federal court, Occupy Dallas seeks a temporary restraining order on First Amendment grounds to try and stop the city from removing the demonstrators.

The city claims they've put up signs and used City Hall restrooms, violations of the their agreement.

"[I]f you have shoes, a shirt, you look like a normal human being, you should be able to go in there and use the restrooms," said Occupy protester Colby Barnett.

Some protesters, like Aaron Strouder, think the city's threat is part of a larger early removal plan.

"And we realized from the beginning that this would be a tactic later on to evict us early from the 60 day [agreement,]" Strouder said.

However some City Council members indicated they're low on patience if Occupy Dallas can't follow the rules.

"They have a agreement that they're not upholding, and if they're not upholding, they need to move on," said Sheffie Kadane, who represents East and far East Dallas.

Far North Dallas council member Sandy Greyson agreed. "I think it's fair to say to them that if you can't abide by the rules that we set up, that you agreed to, then maybe you do need to leave," she  said.

This agreement to let Occupy Dallas stay runs until December 14, providing the demonstrators obey it. If the federal judge doesn't stand in the way and violations continue, the next move will be up to the city.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

 

Print
Email
|