Tags:Here's the press release from the Occupy Asheville Media Working Group:
OCCUPY ASHEVILLE: PUBLIC SPACE BELONGS TO THE PUBLIC
Group Returns Permit For Lexington Ave. Camp Before City Council Meeting “No” Vote
Eight Arrested Tuesday Night in Peaceful Defiance of 10:00pm Pack Square Park Curfew
Asheville NC – The last 24 hours have been busy for Occupy Asheville. Due to existing concerns with the location and conditions at the City approved Lexington Avenue camp, Occupy Asheville returned their City permit for the camp space during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. The Council subsequently voted to expel the group from the Lexington Avenue site while waiving any fees the group had accrued.
“The City Council kept asking for ideas and solutions from Occupy Asheville members regarding the needs of the group in securing a camp location,” said Martin Ramsey. “Multiple speakers provided solutions: waive the 10pm park curfew that would allow overnight First Amendment assembly in Asheville parks.”
The request to waive the 10pm curfew was denied by Council in a 6-1 vote.
“This isn’t business as usual – we are facing an economic and social crisis on a global scale,” explained Naomi Archer. “Meanwhile, the City treats this emergency protest assembly like a seasonal craft fair.”
Later Tuesday night, eight members of Occupy Asheville peacefully defied the Pack Square curfew and were arrested by a large force of Asheville Police. Many Occupy members are deeply frustrated with lip service support from the City without a commitment to provide meaningful resources or access to the public spaces.
“We were arrested for exercising our rights to gather and talk,” said Joe Wallen, one of the eight arrestees.
Since Occupy Asheville began on September 28th, as many as 40 campers have been camping overnight on public and private space around downtown Asheville in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street campers. The Lexington Avenue site was reluctantly accepted by the group as temporary camp location but was plagued by its low visibility, safety, and environmental concerns. Occupy Asheville worked exhaustively to make the best of a difficult situation, but is now moving forward with renewed effort to express the needs and frustrations of the 99 percent.
Occupy Asheville's website is here.