I don't agree or disagree with the protestors, simply because the occupiers are sending an inconsistent messages. The messages are not consistent across the US, or even within people within a single occupy group.
HOWEVER, the U.S. Constitution guarantee citizens the right to peacefully assemble and the right to freedom of speech.
The Courts have also held actions can be considered "speech" for purposes of First Amendment protection.
The courts have held that "political speech' deserves the most protection, reasoning that citizens should be able to seek redress for perceived wrongs committed by their government/elected officials.
Traditional locations, such as in front of court houses and other public buildings, are locations were people have a right to gather to speak.
So lets examine the circumstances surrounding the arrest/citations of the Occupy crowd in Nashville..
(1) Their message is political in natures, thus deserving 1st Amendment Protection.
(2) They are protesting on public property next to the State Capital, which is a traditional venue.
(3) They claim they will not be ignored by their elected officials, and to prove it they claim they will remain in, "occupy", a location as proof of how serious they are about their message.
(4) They state they will occupy the area until the change they are seeking occurs.
So their speech and their actions of occupying a traditional political public location would seem to be protected. As such, I have to commend the magistrate who refused to find probable cause and hold them.
I also have to condemn those responsible for creating the "new rules" which were clearly done to disburse and weaken right of protestors to seek redress of their grievances. I also have to ask if they would have created the same new rules if a different organization seeking different changes has decided to camp in the same area?
Last night it was the Occupy Wallstreet Crowd. If this is allowed to stand than next week a new rule could be instituted prohibiting members of the Tea Party from holding a rally there expect during weekdays between 8 am and 9 am. Clearly such a restriction would weaken their message as the Occupy crowd has had their message weakened.
This is a slippery slope.... and whether you are from the Occupy crowd or the Tea Party, or somewhere in between, you should be shocked and offended.