City has no plans to evict Occupy Ann Arbor protesters from downtown park
Jeff Sainlar I AnnArbor.com
Regular passers-by might think the tents and signs at the Occupy Ann Arbor protest in Liberty Plaza are an eyesore, but there’s a good chance they aren’t going anywhere.
There have been no conversations between the Ann Arbor Police Department and the City of Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation Department about evicting the Occupy Ann Arbor movement, according to Ann Arbor Police Department Lt. Angella Abrams.
She said the department has had no issues with the protester up to this point.
There is a time limit on the amount of time parks can be occupied and Liberty Plaza closes at 10 p.m. every night because it is a city park, Abrams said.
However, the police department takes guidance from the parks department on when someone has to be removed from the park, she said.
“There’s a time limit on the parks, but we take guidance from them (the parks department) when they want somebody out,” Abrams said, “but there hasn’t been a discussion about that at all.”
According to www.occupyannarbor.org, one of the movement’s websites, the first full-time occupiers arrived in Liberty Plaza on Oct. 12. There’s been no indication from the group as to how long Liberty Plaza will stay occupied.
About a handful of people are actually occupying the park overnight, with crowds growing during the daytime hours and during regular Thursday meetings.
The Occupy movement began in mid-September with the Occupy Wall Street protest in lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. The movement has exploded across the country and worldwide.
According to coverage from the Associated Press:
"As the protests have expanded and gained support from new sources, what began three weeks ago as a group of mostly young people camping out on the streets has morphed into something different: an umbrella movement for people of varying ages, life situations and grievances, some of them first-time protesters.
"There are a few common denominators among the protesters: their position on the left of the political spectrum, and the view that the majority in America — the "99 percent," in their words — isn't getting a fair shake.
"Beyond that, though, there's a diversity of age, gender and race — in part due to the recent injection of labor union support, and fueled by social networks — that is striking to some who study social protests."
The first Occupy event in Ann Arbor was held in the Diag on the campus of the University of Michigan earlier this month. Since then, the group has met regularly at 6 p.m. Thursdays in Liberty Plaza to discuss logistics and supporting other Occupy groups around the state, mostly in Lansing and Detroit.