Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ)- Tensions continue to build between the Occupy Baltimore protesters and the city.
Mike Hellgren has more on whether protesters there will be forced out.
After seeing the images from Oakland, Calif.– tear gas, injuries, arrests– some Occupy Baltimore protesters had harsh words for the mayor. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake had said their camping in McKeldin Square overnight–where they’ve been for more than three weeks– is illegal, and they must go.
“Tear gas and rubber bullets, but like I said before, if it comes to that, I’m ready to roll. I’m from East Baltimore,” Darrick Marshall, an Occupy Baltimore protester, said.
“You’ve seen what happened in Oakland,” said Ernie Grecco, president of the Metropolitan Baltimore Council AFL-CIO, said. “We don’t want Baltimore to be another Oakland.”
Grecco hand-delivered a letter to the mayor, telling her: “Rather than create a confrontation, we believe it would be wise for the city of Baltimore to act with restraint and responsibility.”
Among those signing on, the Fraternal Order of Police.
“We have a great relationship with the mayor,” Grecco said. “We endorsed her for her re-election. We consider her a great friend. We just disagree.”
Some cities have started doing health and safety inspections at the campsites. Like in Boston, where they said it was OK for demonstrators to stay. But Los Angeles is thinking about kicking them out. Atlanta has already done so.
In New York, protesters took to the streets, marching in solidarity with Oakland, after the violence there.
“I think most of us know what’s wrong, but what most of us don’t know is what to do about it,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
So what is Baltimore City going to do?
The mayor says she supports the cause and their right to free speech. The city is negotiating with demonstrators. It still remains unclear, though, how long they’ll let them stay here.
“We believe that they should have their first amendment rights and be able to protest,” Grecco said.
McKeldin Square is a designated protest site in Baltimore.