Occupy Chattanooga protesters to avoid arrests, will stay on courthouse sidewalks

Occupy Chattanooga protesters to avoid arrests, will stay on courthouse sidewalks

November 1st, 2011 by Cliff Hightower in Local - Breaking News

Connie Hughes Lucas stands with other members of Occupy Chattanooga when asked to make their presence known by occupier Miles Dougherty during the Chattanooga City Council meeting on Tuesday evening. Members of Occupy Chattanooga symbolically asked the City Council for permission to camp out in a public space although they asserted they would be camping out regardless of permission.

Photo by Alex Washburn/Times Free Press.

Protesters with Occupy Chattanooga decided not to camp out at Ross's Landing tonight after Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd said they would be arrested if they stayed after the city's 10:30 p.m. curfew.

Instead, they'll stay on the sidewalks outside the Hamilton County Courthouse on Georgia Avenue, which Dodd said is fine as long as they aren't impeding foot traffic or sleeping on the sidewalk.

More than 100 Occupy protesters gathered in the City Council meeting tonight and told council members they planned to occupy the green space next to Ross's Landing.

City Attorney Mike McMahan implored the protesters to go to Coolidge Park instead, saying the Head of the Hooch event had already reserved Ross's Landing for Wednesday.

But they still can only be in the park from 6 a.m. until 10:30 p.m., he said.

Check back for more information and read tomorrow's edition of the Times Free Press.