Tensions Rise With Occupy Baltimore Protesters

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.

More from Mike Hellgren
  • Mi Letz

    Just so I have my facts square…The City will allow a “car race” to come in and decimate the land for about 2 1/2 months 3 months. with little to show save for a lack of trees…and now they are gearing up to push the people, the 99% the folks who can go down there on behalf of me, and you…getting ready to push them out because …what? It’s unsightly????? Give me a break! Please. How about “Throw em out get voted out” How about that?.

    • tlb

      When you wish to see things only one way, you get a post such as the one above. The race did bring cash into the city. As much as hyped? No, but it brought in cash over and above the administrative and police costs the city had. It made a profit. On top of that, the sponsors paid to have most of downtown repaved. The suspension on your car appreciates that. The 99%ers do not represent me. I AM one of the 99% and I do not align in anyway with their vague ‘give me what you have’ message. It is simply greed of another kind, they are no better than those against whom they protest. The law before the protests was that the park be closed at midnight. The protesters have flouted that law from day one. The city has the right and the obligation to the REAL 99% to say enough is enough.

      • Justin

        I think the above comment actually really highlights how much more power money has on the government than the people have over it. A single individual with a lot of money to donate/spend has so much more power over the government than 300 individuals with just enough to get by. The movement isn’t about “getting money for free” it’s about reversing the inequality in power which those with expendable income have purchased. Voting is a joke when all the candidates support big businesses and it take millions of dollars to run a successful campaign. The people have no control over the government, it’s run by big business.

  • mike kiernane

    Makes the City looks like even more trash.

  • Frederick William Redelius

    “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.”
    I don’t see anything about only being able to “peaceably assemble” just during day light hours or 9 to 5, 12 to 8. If somebody want to protest 24/7 looks like they have the right to do just that. I may not agree with what their saying ( in this case I do ) but they have the right to do so.

  • Steve Wilson

    An interesting question in Baltimore and the other cities: Who is behind the push to evict the Occupy protesters? I’ll bet the answer is: The same businesses that Occupy is protesting against and, in many cases, the businesses that are backing the TEA Party.

  • Trish

    I was told that the protestors are recruited through Craigs’ List; they are given cell phones; and paid $20.00 a hour. Food is caterered free. And the money is provided by the labor unions. I had wondered how people, who are reportedly working age people, with families supporting those families while they are sitting at the Inner Harbor. Twenty dollars and hour would do that. Does anyone have information on this rumor?

    • Justin

      Completely false. I’m a student and part-time employed. I go down to help out when I can. Most people down there come and go as their schedule allows. They actually end up working many more hours than the average person, balancing their full-time jobs with the responsibilities of maintaining a 24/7 protest. It’s not easy, and it’s really exhausting.

  • jon

    Again, today looked like maybe 50 people there when I drove by.

  • Patty

    I see people camping all of the time around the city, let them stay around for the winter.


    If they are getting $20.00 an hour and free food, I think that is good. They will not have to draw unemployment from the state thus saving the state money; it is a win win situation all around.

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