Monday, November 14, 2011

Occupy Detroit Hoping to Extend Stay in Grand Circus Park

Occupy Detroit protesters hoping for extension to stay in Grand Circus Park

4:42 PM, Nov. 13, 2011 |

Members of the Occupy Detroit movement are looking to extend their stay at Grand Circus Park and are expected to deliver a formal request to the city of Detroit Monday morning.

The permit for the park expires Monday. Without it, police can ticket and clear the park when it closes at 10 p.m. The group announced its plans to seek an extension during a general assembly of the camp this afternoon.

The group has been in the park for about a month.

While a few of the tents this afternoon were showing the signs of being outside for an extended amount of time – a few covering tarps are beginning to shred from the wind – they weren’t being taken down.

A food area was being taken down today, but only to move food to other nearby buildings, where it will be prepared and delivered to the camp.

In the appeal to the city for an extension, the camp will ask for a two-week extension on the permit while it figures out what to do next. Camp organizers told the general assembly they will also continue talks with the Detroit Police Department to try to get enforcement of the lack of permit waived.

Jerry Goldberg, who was handing out literature at the event, said the city shouldn’t be pushing the group out.

“What the city should be doing is welcoming us,” said Goldberg, an attorney who worked with foreclosures and evictions. “The economic problems here in Detroit are caused by the big banks.”

Most of those hanging around the park on Sunday afternoon didn’t anticipate any problems with the police, even if they have to leave. Several said they have been offered private land to relocate to.

Terri Mackin has been living in the camp. She said she expects the police to eventually force them to leave before thousands crowd Woodward Avenue November 24 for the annual Thanksgiving Day parade.

“They don’t want us here for the parade,” she said. “They will move us out before Thanksgiving, you just watch and see.”

A discussion during Sunday’s general assembly meeting was on how to protest non-violently.

Several speakers cautioned those at the meeting that if they fought the police, they would be seen as the bad guys, but if they protested peacefully and the police busted them up, police would be seen as the bad guys.

The encampment has had good relations with law enforcement. Police made no arrests, in contrast to several cities where protesters have clashed with police since the leaderless movement began Sept. 17.

Another general assembly meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday to catch everyone up on the day’s events and the next steps.

Contact David Jesse: 313-222-8851 or

No comments: