Occupy Baltimore Protesters Prepare For Possible Showdown With Police
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Enough is enough. Baltimore City is fed up with the Occupy Wall Street movement that still won’t budge.
Andrea Fujii reports protesters are bracing for a possible eviction.
It’s unclear exactly when protesters may have to leave, but it does appear their time for camping out is running out.
There are protesters, some quite loud, at McKeldin Square in downtown Baltimore. Their grievances are being aired under the watchful eye of police.
“I am very clear that the City Council has made a huge mistake by trying to threaten us or push us out,” said C.T. Lawrence Butler, an Occupy Baltimore protester. “And if they act on that, it’ll be an even larger mistake.”
The Occupy movement has made it clear they’re here to stay, yet Baltimore City leaders are suggesting the campers are wearing out their welcome.
Mayor Rawlings-Blake says the protesters can’t live at the Harbor.
“This isn’t a conversation about injustice or greed on Wall Street,” she said. “This is about a camp-out. And McKeldin Square and any of our public spaces are not for that reason.”
When pressed, the mayor gave no clear timeline on when the evictions might take place.
McKeldin Square is the designated protest area in the Harbor. Many occupiers say they’re willing to get arrested.
“My tent is right over there,” protester Taimak Holland said. “It’s green and shiny. But most of us are prepared to go to jail only because we don’t think anything bad will happen from it.”
“People have been advised as to, you know, how long you’re going to be on a misdemeanor charge, how long you’re going to be in Central Booking if you go to Central Booking,” protester Jason “Citizen” said.
As the police chopper flew overhead, people at the protest seemed unconcerned. The city says it’s still willing to negotiate for a peaceful resolution.
The protesters at McKeldin Square had a meeting at 8 p.m. Wednesday to try to formulate their response and to negotiate with the city. The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) has written a letter to Mayor Rawlings-Blake and asked her not to evict anyone.
There’s a similar situation in Atlanta. That city has cleared protesters out of Woodruff Park.
Members say as of Tuesday, the Occupy movement has been in Baltimore for three weeks.