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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Occupy Cleveland Granted Injunction Against Curfew; Arrests Were Choreographed

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 12:30 PM

occupy-cleveland.jpg

Update II: Straight from the mouths of Occupiers:

We have been granted a restraining order on the unconstitutional curfew ordinance. This is a huge win. We will be granted permits for all night on the northwest quadrant of public square through the 9th of november. lawyers will be updating in press conference today at 2:15 held on the tom johnson quadrant (northwest) of public square.

***

Update: First, the latest news. Occupy Cleveland just posted this on their Facebook wall:

BIG NEWS!

Occupy Cleveland has won our federal lawusit [sic] against the city of Cleveland! There is now an injunction against enforcing the 10pm curfew!

24/7 occupation of the Tom Johnson quarter of public square begins right now! Victory rally begins right now!

Comments on the post, however, seem to indicate that this might be a temporary injunction against the curfew while the case is pending. The lawsuit has not been settled one way or the other. More on this as we find out more details.

Now then, on to the original story...

***

Shortly before the city’s 10 p.m. curfew last Friday, the 11 members of Occupy Cleveland who had opted to be arrested rather than leave Public Square gathered with supporters to hear a lawyer explain what would happen next.

The 11 sat in the center, arms linked, sporting Santa hats purchased that afternoon by veteran activist Lea Tolls, who was among the arrested.

“They make you look more sympathetic,” she helpfully explained.

By 10:30, police began to remove the occupiers one by one. Some, like Tolls, walked out with the cops; others went limp and were carried. It was all very peaceful and choreographed — the occupiers had been in communication all week with Third District Police Commander Calvin Williams, and all concerned knew exactly what would go down.

As police arrived, so did Mayor Frank Jackson’s chief of staff, Ken Silliman, who stood in a corner of the square observing, his hands stuffed in the pockets of his navy blue Nike jacket. When asked why the protesters of Wall Street’s banks couldn’t stay, he responded brusquely: “We have a curfew to enforce.”

As the arrests were wrapping up, a group of occupiers converged around Silliman. He told them that the Downtown Cleveland Alliance had a permit to hang decorations for Winterfest. That prompted one occupier to ask exactly which emissaries of Satan are responsible for funding the beloved annual family-fun fest.

Silliman expertly refused to name the sponsoring party: Huntington Bank.

By Sunday afternoon, around 50 members of Occupy Cleveland convened on Public Square (permitting note: anybody can hang there during the day) to plot their next move. That move came Monday, when the group was granted a permit to extend its stay across from Public Square through October 31. The stipulation: No overnight sleeping allowed.

“We’d like to renew those permits, but at the end of the day they’re inadequate,” says Occupy spokeswoman Erin McCardle, adding that the group plans to seek yet another substandard permit early next week.

“Just last night we had a few people fall asleep while they were working four-hour shifts, and the mayor’s chief of staff already got on us about it.

“There’s a lot of contentiousness around this, and you’ll see more civil disobedience from us. It’s very clear that there’s no interest from the city in finding realistic ways to work with us.” — Anastasia Pantsios

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