Got a lot of irons in the fire right now so this post will be brief.
The Democrat-controlled Charlotte City Council recently approved pre-DNC 2012 (September 2012) ordinances designed to protect the safety and security of the city and its visiting convention-goers from the left wing / anarcho-mobs that typically frequent Presidential political conventions. Those ordinances essentially mean now that Occupy Charlotte is no longer allowed to camp at Old City Hall in uptown Charlotte. They can still protest there 24-7, they just can’t camp or sleep there or set up anything that could be used as “living accommodations” … unless they need a tarp or tent for a shelter from the rain. They are also allowed to keep one open tent as an “information” tent.
That ordinance went into effect at midnight. The CMPD, who are right across the street from the camp, were there around 7 this morning to announce that Occupy Charlotte was in violation of the ordinances and that they must comply with them or face arrest. Some campers rolled up their tents, and some cleaned out tents in hopes they wouldn’t be construed as “living accommodations” but there are still several dozen tents onsite, with several “occupiers” saying they will stay and face arrest if necessary. Keep in mind, too, that the “occupiers” put out a mass call for occupiers from other cities to join them so some who are there right now preparing to join in the stand-off are visitors. The CMPD gave them until 2:30. Their attorney Ken Davies is trying to file for an injunction, citing “vagueness” of the new ordinances, but as of my reading of the #OccupyCLT hashtag on Twitter at this time, that’s not going to happen.
It remains to be seen as to whether or not the CMPD will face a lot of resistance at 2:30 or if most/all will comply with the new laws. At other prominent Occupy camps around the country, violence has erupted when police have tried to take down tents that Occupiers refuse to.
I don’t have the direct link, but if you want to watch a live stream of events, Creative Loafing Charlotte has posted the link at their Twitter feed page, which is @cl_charlotte.
As they say … stay tuned.
Update – 5:45 PM: Just like that, save for the “informational” tent, the Occupy Charlotte tents are gone. There were 7 arrests on misdemeanor charges. Looks like the Char-Meck Police Dept. handled things well in spite of the typical OWS stall tactics. The Charlotte Observer has a good recap of events, some of which they describe as “bizarre”, that took place today prior to, during, and after the “eviction” of the tents. Photos here – video here.
I should note that Occupy Charlotte’s attorney is still hard at work trying to reverse today’s CMPD handiwork:
Occupy Charlotte made one last attempt to forestall the eviction, going to Mecklenburg Superior Court at 2 p.m. and asking Judge Jesse Caldwell to issue a restraining order against the city. Caldwell said the docket was full and told the protesters’ attorney, Robert Davies, and City Attorney Robert Hagemann that they would have to wait.
Hagemann said the city would not wait. Davies then tried, unsuccessfully, to find another judge to issue the order.
“A bunch of people will get arrested,” Davies said. “We did everything we could.”
Davies said later this afternoon that a hearing on the restraining order has been scheduled before Judge Caldwell on Tuesday afternoon. The goal, he said, is to call for a delay to any further implementation of the demonstration ordinances.
A lawsuit filed by Davies on Monday asks a judge to declare that the use of the lawn at Old City Hall is “protected as free speech, assembly, association and the right to petition the government” under the First Amendment and N.C. Constitution. It further requests a judge to declare that applying the new city ordinances to Occupy Charlotte’s demonstration on the law would violate their rights.
Later, the suit alleges the new ordinances “has already irreparably harmed” the movement. The suit was filed on behalf of Occupy Charlotte and five people who have participated in the movement.
I’m reading on Twitter that some “occupiers” are planning on putting some tents back up tomorrow. That should be very interesting …