Some Occupy Nashville protesters remove tents
Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 8:00 pm
NASHVILLE (AP) — About half of the Occupy Nashville protesters that were encamped on the Capitol complex for nearly five months have removed their tents.
Tennessee Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the protesters informed a state trooper patrolling the area that they planned to leave sometime Tuesday night.
The protesters discussed their future plans at a general assembly meeting in the evening. By the time of the meeting, the number of tents — which at one time were as many as 60 on the plaza — had been drastically reduced.
Discussions at the meeting ranged from off-site storage for protesters’ belongings to handling proposed legislation aimed at stopping them from staying overnight on the plaza.
Protesters have camped at the plaza since early October.
Later that month state troopers arrested protesters, but a Nashville judge ordered them released. The protesters reoccupied soon after.
The decision to move came a couple of days before the legislation is scheduled to be heard on the House floor. The measure would make it a misdemeanor to lay down “bedding for the purpose of sleeping.”
The proposal refers to items associated with camping, “including tents, portable toilets, sleeping bags, tarps, propane heaters, cooking equipment and generators.”
Will York, an attorney for the protesters, said some protesters have discussed defying the legislation if it becomes law. “These are some pretty tenacious people,” York said. “I would not at all be surprised to see the Occupy Nashville protesters carried away in handcuffs once again.”
However, there are some who want to stay on the plaza and adhere to the requirements of the proposal. Protester Tom Sweet said before the meeting that for those individuals a plan is being discussed to have them alternate in three eight-hour shifts so there’s someone from Occupy Nashville on the plaza, Sweet said.
“We’re going to be here 24/7,” he said.
Gibbons said the protesters indicated they probably won’t go to “any other location for the present time, but may at some future date.”
But he noted others have decided to stay. Published in The Messenger 2.15.12