published Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Occupy Chattanooga seeks permit to camp and protest

by Andrew Pantazi
 Aria Taibi (center) organizes her group's brainstormed list of goals for Occupy Chattanooga in Miller Plaza during the first general assembly meeting of Occupy Chattanooga on Friday. Hundreds of people gathered in the plaza to decide what the goals of Occupy Chattanooga should be.
Aria Taibi (center) organizes her group's brainstormed list of goals for Occupy Chattanooga in Miller Plaza during the first general assembly meeting of Occupy Chattanooga on Friday. Hundreds of people gathered in the plaza to decide what the goals of Occupy Chattanooga should be.
Photo by Alex Washburn /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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The Occupy Chattanooga leaders go before the Chattanooga City Council tonight at 6 p.m. in City Council chambers.

Should Occupy Chattanooga be allowed to camp downtown?

The Occupy Chattanooga movement plans to ask Chattanooga's City Council for permits to camp and protest.

But regardless of the council's decision at tonight's meeting, movement leaders say they'll go ahead with their plans to camp at some spot in the city.

Ricky Blevins, one of the local movement's voluntary spokesmen, said he hoped Chattanooga would follow the example of Irvine, Calif., where the council granted permits for the local Occupy movement.

If the Chattanooga council doesn't grant the permits, members of Occupy Chattanooga said they'll still pick a location to camp after the City Council meeting ends. There's no specific place mapped out just yet, Blevins said.

"We need to have that center of activity where we can work out of," he said. "It'll help us learn more about each other and more about the community."

As of 9 p.m. Monday night, 50 people said they were attending the event at City Council.

So far, Occupy Chattanooga has been holding general assembly meetings in which members have decided on the logistics and purpose of the movement. To be agreed upon, each topic needed a 90 percent majority, Blevins said.

The members agreed on a list of 19 demands, and they agreed to officially start the occupation tonight.

Chattanooga police have prepared for potential illegal protests, but spokeswoman Sgt. Jerri Weary said she doesn't expect the movement will need to be broken up.

"As long as they apply for their permits and receive those permits, they have the right to peaceful assembly and peaceful protest," she said.

If the movement does break city code and protest without a permit, police plan to take appropriate actions.

"We will do what the police department is supposed to do," Weary said. "We are not going to beat any people up or do any of what you've seen on TV. If it requires a custodial arrest, we will do so. But we don't anticipate any problems because thus far they have been in compliance with the law."

Blevins said he expects interactions with police to be peaceful.

In Nashville, more than 50 Occupy protesters at the Tennessee Capitol have been arrested and charged with criminal trespassing, although a judge has tossed out the charges, saying the state didn't have probable cause for the arrests.

The state of Tennessee agreed Monday to stop enforcing the curfew.

"We hope we don't have what happened in Nashville," Blevins said. "I would not expect it."

On Thursday, at a local protest of a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., the local police complimented protesters for how peaceful they kept the event.

"We're against the violence," Blevins said. "We're against the radicalization of things. Instead, we're showing ourselves as mature adults trying to peacefully make change."

Blevins said he expects the occupation will last at least through the 2012 elections.

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about Andrew Pantazi...

Andrew Pantazi is an intern at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who says that when he was 7 he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life: play hockey for the Colorado Avalanche. Unfortunately, he says he wasn't any good at hockey, so he became a journalist instead. He writes about the lives we hide, like the man who suffered a stroke but smiled, or the football walk-on who endured 5 ...

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EaTn said...

These are the faces of those who will stand up for economic oppression and lead all Americans into the twenty first century.

November 1, 2011 at 7:52 a.m.
KWVeteran said...

Yes, these are the true self-appointed patriots overly filled with self aggrandizement of their personal worthiness.

November 1, 2011 at 8:35 a.m.
dotinoz said...

This course we are on, as a nation, is unsustainable. The people are exercising their right to assemble and share ideas and solutions with each other in the only legal process left unmolested by the infiltration of money bias... Peaceable Assembly under the First Amendment. This Occupy is a people’s protest that, above all else, ensures the status quo will not stand.

November 1, 2011 at 9:18 a.m.
ChattanoogaVol said...

Then go to a freaking camp site. Geez.

November 1, 2011 at 9:22 a.m.
Overitall said...

I'm so glad to see that so many people have missed the point of the Occupy movement! It's not about what anybody is "owed" financially, it's about watching those who have destroy the economy for those who have not. To my knowledge, nobody in the Occupy movement is asking for a handout when they say, "We are the 99%", they are asking for jobs, livable wages and affordable prices on everything. They are asking to be considered as citizens of this country and asking for their voices to be heard.
Regardless of what they are asking for, this country provides its citizens with the right to free speech and the right to assemble peaceably. I know a great many people will disagree when I reference the often misattributed quote of "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism", but to let your country go down the tubes without a fight is a shame and a disgrace. Many of the citizens of this country are willing to stand by and complain, but make no real move towards change. At least the people in the Occupy movement are standing up for something they believe in.
They should be allowed to peaceably camp and congregate. Even if I didn't somewhat agree with them, I would believe this notion. If you stand against this, then don't be surprised when you aren't able to stand for your own beliefs. Please, if you're not going to be part of the solution, than at least don't be part of the problem.

November 1, 2011 at 10:02 a.m.
PaulElliott0560 said...

**This is what it's about nothing else, either you're for the Constitution or you're not. If it makes me Socialist to believe in the 1st Amendment. Then I'm a socialist.

“ Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. ”**

November 1, 2011 at 12:02 p.m.
lanaland said...

This was my editorial to the paper. I don't know if it was published or not so I'll just reproduce it here:

Occupy The City Council

Free, American citizens are the guests of honor at the weekly Chattanooga City Council meeting. Or they should be. The weekly meeting is where Chattanooga's elected representatives conduct the public's business, allocating our money and making our laws.

That's why it's such an historic occasion for Occupy Chattanooga to show up at the City Council Chambers, and declare the Occupation directly to our elected representatives. I hope all Occupy supporters enthusiastically occupy the City Council Chambers at 1000 Lindsey Street, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1.

Our demands are clear: All of our elected representatives, including the council and mayor, must start representing The People over monied and corporate interests. We'll also request permits to Occupy a specific area of town. These are our streets, our sidewalks, our parks, courts, City Hall and offices. It's our government, not The Politicians', not The Corporations'.

We want it shared, not stolen.

I hope special interests don't attempt to paint us as anti-business. Many Occupiers are business owners. And we're outraged by the bold takeover of our government by the elite. We condemn politicians' shameless commandeering of The People's assets to enrich a few.

Join us. We are the 99%.

Note to editor: Here's the event invite on FB:

November 1, 2011 at 12:51 p.m.
jd2011 said...

Lets Occupy!!!! If you don't support it then your more than welcome to stay behind and give all your money to the banks! Go for it!

November 1, 2011 at 8:56 p.m.
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