BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Baltimore City officials are taking a stand to get Occupy Baltimore protesters to leave McKeldin Square. Wednesday night, they turned off the electricity in the area.
Andrea Fujii has more on how that’s affecting the demonstrations.
Lights stay on 24/7 at McKeldin Square, but the power has been cut. Protesters say this won’t stop them.
“It is getting cold and it’s quite inhumane for them to turn off the power,” said Timothy Chin of Occupy Baltimore.
City officials flipped the switch after they say they found fire and electrocution hazards.
“People have spent thousands of years living without electricity,” Philip Hoyle of Occupy Baltimore said. “I can see people making ways around it again.”
Just last week, the city ruled that camping at McKeldin Square was illegal.
A view from Sky Eye Chopper 13 shows the tents that remain. Safety is a concern at the site after reports of theft and illegal drug use.
“The protesters don’t seem to have that same concern about public safety and I take public safety very seriously,” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.
Demonstrators say that’s not true.
“There’s been a lot of reports of violence and sexual activity and drugs and all this stuff,” Marcus Clary, a protester, said. “And mainly it’s just gossip and rumors.”
City Council members understand the concerns but are sympathetic to the movement.
“I would completely understand if they wanted to continue to stay there until they had a greater sense that what they’re asking for is being heard,” said Councilman Bill Henry of Baltimore’s District 4.
“They’re a self-governing group and I believe in democracy,” Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke of District 14 said.
Demonstrators say they’ll continue the occupation with electricity or not.
The mayor has not said whether she plans to have the protesters evicted from the plaza.
The Department of Parks and Recreation declined to issue a permit for the protest.