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Archive for Friday, October 21, 2011

Protesters maintain presence in park

October 21, 2011, 12:32 a.m. Updated October 22, 2011, 12:38 a.m.

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UPDATE:

A smaller contingent of the Occupy Lawrence remained in South Park early Saturday morning. Members of the group said they were planning a rally for noon at the corner of Ninth and Massachusetts streets. It is to be followed by pumpkin carving and an acoustic guitar jam in South Park.

Member Jason Phoenix said he hoped the events would give the group the opportunity to hear from more in the community.

Here's the earlier story:

The Occupy Lawrence camp remains in South Park, technically outside the law but working toward a satisfactory resolution for both the city and the protesters.

Toni Wheeler, the city’s director of the Legal Department, said two representatives from Occupy Lawrence came to her office in City Hall at 8:30 a.m. Thursday to notify her that a “contingent” of Occupy Lawrence members would continue to camp in the park despite a warning from the city that they would be violating a law that prohibits use of the park during overnight hours.

“They weren’t specific about how large the contingent would be,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler said she was in discussions with various city officials to determine what the city’s enforcement strategy will be. Wheeler said she did not anticipate the city taking any enforcement action prior to 11:30 p.m. Thursday, which is closing time for the park.

By city ordinance, Lawrence parks close from 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. But late Thursday night, no city personnel arrived to enforce the ordinance, leaving the protesters alone for another night.

Wheeler previously has said the city would have the legal right to remove the campers from the park, but she has stopped short of saying whether that will be the approach the city takes to enforce the law.

Even some observers who are not involved in the protest — an offshoot of a movement that started on Wall Street to protest corporate greed, among other issues — are in solidarity with the local activists.

“Everybody has a right to their opinion, period,” Ben Davis, of Eudora, said early this morning. Davis, who called himself a conservative Catholic, said he disagrees with the politics behind the movement but thinks the protesters should be allowed to stay. On Thursday afternoon, Sgt. Matt Sarna, a Lawrence police spokesman, said the city and police department were “working together to find options and facilitate the protesters’ expression of freedom of speech.”

“The Lawrence Police Department is committed to enforcing the laws and ordinances within the city limits of Lawrence including parks that have set usage hours. This enforcement could include citations, arrests or other types of enforcement actions deemed necessary,” Sarna said. “The City of Lawrence Police Department has no formal timeline on enforcement action at this time and is hoping for a peaceful resolution to the situation.”

At 7 p.m., members of Occupy Lawrence agreed by consensus that those who wished could stay in the park past 11:30 p.m. The group also voted to remove a majority of their camping equipment to a location off site.

Occupy Lawrence member Jason Phoenix proposed a resolution that would see the group leave South Park and occupy other parks for one or two days at a time before moving on.

“It’s not about South Park, it’s about continuing to spark conversation,” Phoenix said.

— reporters Aaron Couch and George Diepenbrock contributed additional information to this story.

Comments

Centerville 2 years, 6 months ago

You have to be kidding about the pumpkin carving and strumming guitars. Or, has "Truth to Power" finally come to this: a tableau straight out of Mom & Dad's basement?

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Godot 2 years, 6 months ago

Anyone who receives a parking ticket, a traffic ticket, a defecating in public ticket, or a citation for having more than three un-related tenants in a rental home, etc, from last week until the Occupy Lawrence encampment is removed from South Park, should and must appeal/ ney they must rebel!!!..Why should these Fawkers be more equal than the rest of us under the law? Grounds for appeal are unequal and prejudicial enforcement of the statutes and ordinances of the city.

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ToriFreak13 2 years, 6 months ago

The whole Occupy movement has to be the lamest attempt of a revolution in history. Chapter written. Book closed. Now get a job. Pay your bills. Save money. Buy a house. Pay taxes. Stop approving $18 million dollar remodeling projects. Make your life worth more, not others worth less.

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Jonathan Fox 2 years, 6 months ago

This would be a whole different story if it was Fred Phelps and his family were camping out protesting gays or something. How long would the city let them camp out at South Park?

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akt2 2 years, 6 months ago

I decided to have a look on my way home from work today. I saw one big painted sign/bedsheet, and a handful of pup tents. The south side of the park by the swings was full of kids playing, people walking their dogs and other normal park activities. They seemed to far outnumber the feeble attempt at protesting.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

The local OWS contingency is working with City Hall to which I say hats off!!!

Very very good!

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

Citizens and city hall have much larger issues such as 64 bedroom boarding houses being built next door to you! Or when will the school district and local elected officials stop handing out tax dollars to wealthy real estate movers and shakers?

Citizens have much larger issues such as when are the politicians and bankers involved with putting approximately 11 million out if work by way of fraudulent lending practices going to be visiting a grand jury?

The OWS contingencies are doing this nation a huge favor.

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bootlegger 2 years, 6 months ago

Do THEY think we even care? Dont they have jobs??

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kernal 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm hoping they all leave the park tonight. It's Friday = drunk night downtown. I don't even want to think of the possibilities if they don't decamp.

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pepper_bar 2 years, 6 months ago

The Lawrence police have handed South Park to the hobos.

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Armored_One 2 years, 6 months ago

You know what is truly and utterly sad.

Fred Phelps is more interested in following the laws of this nation than the protestors trying to "reclaim' the nation from those evil corporations.

At least Fred willing and gladly applies for a permit to protest each adn every time they gather to spew their rhetoric.

Again, I ask why the Occupy movement should receive more credit than Fred, considering he at least obeys the laws wherever his clan goes.

Not to mention that the KKK also files applications to protest each and every time.

The protestors in the park rank lower than Fred Phelps and the Klan. Somehow, that seems almost appropriate.

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citizen1 2 years, 6 months ago

I say again please ignore them & quit talking about them.

If they do not have an audience nor any attention the "Occupy Lawrence" folks will disappear.

Why does anyone pay attention to them? They do not have a message that makes sense & there is no way to measure "Mission Accomplished".

It is obvious thru these blogs they do not have any support. Why give them your valuable time?

There is plenty of quality entertainment beyond "Occupy Lawrence".

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KS 2 years, 6 months ago

Lawrence should enforce it laws. They ran the campers off of the dike a couple of years ago. Why not here in the park? My guess is that by Thanksgiving, the crowd will start to dwindle. Let's hope for a brutal winter. Six to eight inches of snow should help.

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sherbert 2 years, 6 months ago

Violating the sign ordinance with their big sign banners in the easement.

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kernal 2 years, 6 months ago

We have a warming trend until Wednesday, so guess someone will have to make a decision; or not.

It's a tough call.

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SomethingFierce88 2 years, 6 months ago

I have lived in Lawrence for 21 years and when I walked past the Occupy Lawrence group I recognized about 75% of them are the same homeless people that ask me for money on mass.

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orange95 2 years, 6 months ago

police need to let them stay and eventually kansas winter will come along and freeze there asses out of the park

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Antonym 2 years, 6 months ago

So if I get a group of people together and we all break the same law at the same time it is going to be ok? No repercussions? Get the water cannons out and send these law breakers on their way. If they are breaking the law then their protest is meaningless. They are criminals.

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SomethingFierce88 2 years, 6 months ago

What I find funny is that they are protesting more or less about money yet for the past week they have been sitting in the park when they could have been working at their job making money...I mean seriously have any of you seen the videos of the protestors on wall street or NYC...Something doesnt add up. Maybe work a little then protest after work if it means THAT much to you!

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jayhawkster 2 years, 6 months ago

Ran by the protesters this morning at around 6:15 and those folks sure looked cold. Hope they find what they're looking for before old man winter puts them under his thumb.

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citizen1 2 years, 6 months ago

I believe we should quit talking about them, and just ignore them. There has to be better entertainment.

They have no focus, and there is no measurable outcome to say any of the "occupy" events can say they ever accomplished anything except public scorn. Sure there are a few that mindlessly follow anything.

The sooner you start ignoring them the sooner they vanish from the headlines.

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waka3 2 years, 6 months ago

dude i am so ther it is awsome

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gl0ck0wn3r 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm curious... How would the city deal with a KKK gathering of similar size that broke the same rules? What about the Phelps clan? I am not a supporter of either organization - so ease up before you write some snarky post about how I'd prefer those people - but I believe the city would behave differently with these organizations because they are disliked by a majority of citizens. The occupy people are seen largely as harmless by most citizens and I'd gather that most of those within city hall come closer to supporting the occupy demands - such as they are - than those of the other two groups. I believe the city is setting a pretty terrible precedent by allowing an organization they like (or tolerate) to break the rules because one day they might have to deal similarly with organizations they dislike.

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Shane Garrett 2 years, 6 months ago

Hey, the economy must be getting better as today the Senate voted 60-38 to attach the proposal to a spending bill that the chamber will consider later this year. It would restore the size of the loans the government buys or insures to a maximum of $729,500 from the previous cap of $625,500. All 38 nay votes were from those nasty Republicans. I guess they don't want poor people to be able to apply for 700,000 $ loans.

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progressive_thinker 2 years, 6 months ago

For those who are interested in the process of change that Occupy Wall Street and other "occupy" groups may be going through, please take a moment to watch this video.

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gudpoynt 2 years, 6 months ago

But I suppose the naysayers are right. They shouldn't violate the curfew. It's just plain illegal.

Instead, they should gamble away hundreds of billions of dollars of other peoples's money, tank the world's strongest economy, demand taxpayer bailouts, and continue on with their reckless practices, while continuing to receive ridiculous bonuses, limited oversight, and no penalty whatsoever.

At least that's legal... depending on who you know and what your job title is.

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gudpoynt 2 years, 6 months ago

The naysayers remind me of Walter pulling a gun on Smokey for stepping over the line.

"You're not wrong Walter, you're just an a**hole!"

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gr 2 years, 6 months ago

"By city ordinance, Lawrence parks close from 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. But late Thursday night, no city personnel arrived to enforce the ordinance, leaving the protesters alone for another night.

Wheeler previously has said the city would have the legal right to remove the campers from the park, but she has stopped short of saying whether that will be the approach the city takes to enforce the law."

So, can everyone stay in the park, or do they just allow certain favored lawbreakers?

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 6 months ago

This stupid demonstration will solve nothing. No one on Wall Street is paying one bit of attention to the "protests" of these unwashed idiots. Now that the deadline has past, their position has passed from one of silly protest to law violaters. They are now saying "I am going to shove a stick in your eye and what are you going to do about it??"

They have no veracity, purpose, reason, just only to make some noise, break the law and stick their tongues out. They akin to and are on a similar course as the Phelps clan.

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yourworstnightmare 2 years, 6 months ago

Obviously, the Occupy Lawrence people are stoking strong feelings in the hearts and minds of Lawrencians.

The fear and loathing of right wingers on this site suggest that Occupy Lawrence should continue. They are having an effect.

Tea, anyone?

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gudpoynt 2 years, 6 months ago

it's a protest for god's sake. It's supposed to ruffle feathers. That's the whole point. They don't call it civil obedience, do they?

Sounds like they're doing their best to keep the protest going while working out a peacable solution with law enforcement.

I don't see the BFD.

Could any one of you CAVE people please explain how the Occupy protesters are doing any harm to you personally.

Sounds to me like they're just challenging your political identity, and in response, you're whining about some petty city ordinance to un-justify their actions.

Give me a break. You're like the coach of the inferior basketball team who complains to the referee that the opposing team's star has a drop of blood on his jersey, and must be taken out of the game. It's a an attempt to invalidate your opposition based on a mere technicality. And it's kind of sad.

Sadder still, is the insistence upon a non-reality of the OWS movement's composition, e.g. dirty, government-mooching, aimless, drug users, etc.

Kind of like referring to the Tea Party as predominantly racist, rather than addressing their real concerns. Certainly makes it easier to disagree with a population when you mischaracterize them all as "bad" people in one way or another. Easier maybe, but pretty pathetic.

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CLARKKENT 2 years, 6 months ago

EITHER ENFORCE THE LAW OR CHANGE IT.

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ljwhirled 2 years, 6 months ago

  1. The most effective mechanism for change in an open society is voting.

  2. The second most effective mechanism for change is non-violent resistance.

Be sure you are exercising point 1 before moving on to point 2.

My biggest beef with local progressives is that they make up more than 1/2 our community, but in the last municipal election only 12% of the total population turned out to vote.

I'd be curious how many of the folks in South Park voted in the last municipal election.

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kernal 2 years, 6 months ago

"Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state has become lawless and corrupt. And a citizen who barters with such a state shares in its corruption...Every citizen is responsible for every act if its government..." - Mahatma Ghandi

Our Constitution allows its citizens to speak out when the government does not act on behalf of its citizens but on behalf of of PACs and corporations. And that is part of what the Occupy is about.

The people in South Park are not violent, have no intention of being violent and the comments that they may do so is either due to lack of understanding, the wish to instigate violence or paranoia of change stirring up the wind.

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Jack McEnaney 2 years, 6 months ago

If the teaparty people were staying past the deadline set for them, would they be allowed to stay?

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rockchalk1977 2 years, 6 months ago

"Protesters arrested as chaos descends on CBD". About 100 Occupy Melbourne demonstrators defied an order to leave. A huge police contingent, including the riot squad, started dragging protesters out of the square and cleared the area within 10 minutes.

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/protesters-arrested-as-chaos-descends-on-cbd-20111021-1mb07.html

Look Lawrence, this problem can be dealt with.

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DrRustinMcGillicuddy 2 years, 6 months ago

Occupy Lawrence has been happening for years in South Park, I'm surprised it is just now getting attention. The homeless are part of the 99%.

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dontsheep 2 years, 6 months ago

@ljwhirled...in">p>@ljwhirled...in case you only read downward, please scroll up and address my questions.

Thanks.

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Phone_Man 2 years, 6 months ago

Oh, I also think we should have the fire department hose them all down about midnight tonight. If they are going to stay out there the least we can do is give them a free shower.

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Phone_Man 2 years, 6 months ago

It would appear their change is headed much in the direction of our good friend Nobama. Like these morons he has changed nothing. I'm ready for the gun toters to get back in office so we can "Make A Change" at least something will get done instead of nothing!

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cheeseburger 2 years, 6 months ago

The city has earned a big FAIL for their actions - or more accurately, their inactions.

You don't issue statements and ultimatums if you don't intend to follow through.

You are soft, ineffective, but most disturbing, inconsistent.

A pathetic display in South Park, but an even more pathetic display of ineffective leadership, and lack of ethics and consistency from City Hall.

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patgilbey1 2 years, 6 months ago

What great conversation is being sparked by a small group of campers with no specific agenda. This shows how much Lawrence residents care about their community. I hope everyone will take advantage of this new found energy and do something constructive.

To everyone of us (commoners,surfs, and peasants): The "Man" has been sticking it to us since the beginning of time. Let's move on past entitlement and find our own "American Dream" .

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Austerity 2 years, 6 months ago

I think this group has every right to protest, but needs to go through the proper channels and obtain a permit. They should be forced to leave until that time. What am I missing?

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The_Original_Bob 2 years, 6 months ago

The South Park Sitters are now the South Park Squatters.

"What specifically needs to happen and, more importantly, what is the protesters' plan for getting it done?" Haiku

Engagedecoy will come on here and yell at you that all you need to know is on the internet and then how you should go down to South Park and ask the 30 people sitting in lawn chairs how to be enlightened. Quite the confusing plan they have going.

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ljwhirled 2 years, 6 months ago

Their goals are to spark conversation and raise awareness.

First comes anger, then comes discussion, then comes planning, then comes action.

We are in step 2.

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Haiku_Cuckoo 2 years, 6 months ago

Can anyone name one tangible goal of the protests? "Sparking conversation" and "raising awareness" does nothing. I can spark conversations and raise awareness about the starvation in Somalia but that doesn't feed anyone. Do any of the protesters have an action plan? What specifically needs to happen and, more importantly, what is the protesters' plan for getting it done? Anyone?

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WaxAndWane 2 years, 6 months ago

Protesters want to be arrested so they can post vids on YouTube and brag about it later. Good for the LPD for not taking the bait.

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2 years, 6 months ago

@jafs, A similar argument was made for the Teabaggers, except they took it to the extreme by claiming 1st amendment rights allowed them to show up at a political event carrying an assault rifle. I didn't see any assault rifles in South Park.


The problem, as evidenced by the apparently 1%-ers posting above, is that now the focus is no longer the reason for Occupy Lawrence but rather that there are still people in South Park. (As of 0400. BTW, SpicePirate, it's spelled "squatters").


@ it's_just_math. So, can we assume you would think it's OK if there were a bunch of Teabaggers in South Park, and that you would defend their actions? Remember, they were co-opted by the GOP (aka GNoP indicating their obstructionist behavior). Are you and lunacy really sure that if your party were there, arrests would have been made? Remember, that party is a Faux News favorite; can you just imagine the press field day Murdock, et al would have?


One of the 99%

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vuduchyld 2 years, 6 months ago

I’m talkin Power to the people, but don't be so uptight It's not criminal violence I'm trying to incite But if you don't see a problem then you don't know where to look check your federal reserve appointed-politician-crook interest-free bailout loans but only wealthy need apply So for the other 99% it's time to OCCUPY!

(Smash It Grab It OCCUPY...the video!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8XE4CdNYEs

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conservative 2 years, 6 months ago

Comparing the occupy lawrence campout to civil rights watershed moments is ridiculous, those people understood exactly what they were standing up (or sitting down) for. This group has no agenda other than they think there may be things they want to change. The ows group at least has a mission and can tell you what they are upset about. They have no true understanding of reality and an ill conceived sense of entitlement, but they do know what they stand for.

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jafs 2 years, 6 months ago

I suppose the interesting question is whether this occupation of the park is in fact an expression of 1st amendment rights, and if so, when city codes like closing the park at night, conflict with that, what should happen?

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its_just_math 2 years, 6 months ago

Must echo lunacydetector's sentiments; the local authority in Lawrence seems dreadfully afraid of the Fleabaggers and the small but loud contingent of the far-left in Lawrence. I suppose they realize the ramifications of one mis-step and the myriad of far-left advocacy groups that would swoop down on Lawrence, with their only goal to drum up bad publicity for the city.

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Keith Richards 2 years, 6 months ago

Could the police also have nights where underage drinking is allowed? Lets say Friday and Saturday nights police will not longer ticket or arrest underage drinkers. By drinking under the age of 21 we could show those Wall Street folks that we, well, not sure, but that is about the same as this group at the park.

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lunacydetector 2 years, 6 months ago

the vocal minority loons rule the roost, as usual. if this was the tea party, arrests would've been made.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 6 months ago

Illegal campers are camping illegally.

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grammaddy 2 years, 6 months ago

Some people are too stupid to realize that they, too, are part of the 99%.Get involved,make a difference.

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Ken Lassman 2 years, 6 months ago

Hey, folks, wake up and look around.

This is not about South Park in Lawrence, Kansas.

There are over 2000 towns, villages and cities all over the planet who are participating in this. Many are a few folks in small towns, getting together to discuss the issues and registering their groups at http://www.meetup.com/occupytogether/ .

This includes places like Gardner, Olathe and Shawnee in Kansas. And Ada, Oklahoma. And Kearney, Hastings, Gretna Nebraska. And Rolla, Jeff City in Missouri.

Then there are the groups who have formed and are occupying public space, not to violate laws, but to create public forums for civil discussion, This is not a conspiracy funded by George Soros with a bucket of money and a point by point self serving agenda. It is primarily a heartfelt response to a plea by the original Occupy Wall Street group, which formed a General Assembly a few weeks ago and suggested that folks create forums in their own communities, in public spaces that everyone had access to. This is as egalitarian of a movement as we'll likely see in our lifetime, despite the paranoid who will see a host of puppetmasters of their own making behind it all.

This next level of organization has happened. In 231 cities, Lawrence being just one of them. It also includes Kansas City. It includes Topeka. It includes Oklahoma City. Columbia, Missouri and Lincoln, NE have groups--not sure if they have a public occupation yet or not.

Like it or not, it is a historic movement of global proportions. Criticize it if you like, join it if you like. But place the Lawrence Occupation in the context of a global movement that is growing and not going away anytime soon.

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BruceWayne 2 years, 6 months ago

I think Core-less should have to go down there and make them leave. If the city really wants them gone send over Officer Troy...leave or die!

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Pastor_Bedtime 2 years, 6 months ago

It's a shame these folks cannot put their efforts into something constructive to actually help others, rather than sitting on their butts.

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Randall Barnes 2 years, 6 months ago

“The Lawrence Police Department is committed to enforcing the laws and ordinances within the city limits of Lawrence including parks that have set usage hours. This enforcement could include citations, arrests or other types of enforcement actions deemed necessary,” Sarna said. “The City of Lawrence Police Department has no formal timeline on enforcement action at this time and is hoping for a peaceful resolution to the situation.”

what about j- walking ????????? never enforced. enforce all laws or none at all.

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SpicePirate 2 years, 6 months ago

As of 4a.m. the squaters were still in the park. If the local Police do not enforse the law, as well as the official ultimatum, they make a mockery of the ones they do chose to enforce. You either enforce them all equally or they mean nothing.

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SpicePirate 2 years, 6 months ago

Are you seriously comparing these peoples ill-aimed actions to those truely historic events? Those heroes of the civil rights era were actively courting violent/potentially deadly backlash for their actions. These neosocialists don't deserve to be mentioned in in the same breath.

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pepper_bar 2 years, 6 months ago

Camping isn't speech. Lawrence needs to enforce its laws.

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