BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Cities across the country make moves to shut down the Occupy movement. Will Baltimore be next?
Andrea Fujii has more.
Protesters here in Baltimore say they’ve seen other cities getting cleared out. If police move in here, they say they’ll stand their ground peacefully.
In New York, police in riot gear evicted Occupy Wall Street. The park is now off-limits for overnight camping. Tensions were high in Denver as police moved in to push protesters off the sidewalk.
“Every time they clamp down on a free speech movement like that, the movement only grows,” said Christopher Lyman, Occupy Baltimore.
At Occupy Baltimore, word is out about what’s happening in other cities. Protesters say they hope those clashes don’t happen here.
“We would act peacefully but we never know how the police force is going to react to coming into the square,” said Joy Davis, protester.
“I think it’s important to stand by our principles as peaceful demonstrators and to not let the threat of violence sway our beliefs,” said Samantha Cuff, Occupy Baltimore.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake voiced concern following reports of theft and drug use on site.
“The protesters don’t seem to have that same concern about public safety and I take public safety very seriously,” Rawlings-Blake said.
With the Occupy tents still at McKeldin Square, other events that have permits for this area are opting to move. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network will move its purple light vigil away from the protest to Rash Field.
“This is a very solemn event. It’s almost a sacred event. It’s a first-time event and we want to have it respected as such,” said Jim Epperlein, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
Occupy Baltimore says it will work with other groups that have permits for the square.
The mayor’s office did not return WJZ’s repeated calls for comment on the future of Occupy Baltimore.
A group of Occupiers from Wall Street is now marching from New York City to D.C. They do plan to stop in Baltimore.