Reporting Vickie Thomas
DETROIT (WWJ) - For the past month, Occupy Detroit protesters have been camped out at Grand Circus Park in downtown Detroit. Now, it appears the city wants them to roll up their sleeping bags and un-occupy the park.
On Wednesday night, signs were posted around Grand Circus Park that say the public space now closes at 10 p.m., and on Thursday morning, city workers began removing the metal barricades surrounding the Occupy Detroit camp.
City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson stopped by the park after all the barricades had been removed and said the city is going to try to evict the protesters.
“This was not approved by City Council. Grand Circus Park has not had a prohibition of 10 p.m. that’s been approved by City Council, and we make the laws,” said Watson.
Now, protesters like Kamery Paige who don’t want to leave, are wondering if they’ll have to square off with police.
“When they put up signs like this, they plan on enforcing them. But regardless of the fact, this is for our future,” Paige said.
His message to Police Chief Ralph Godbee?
“To the Police Chief, I’m pretty sure you have family in this city that’s suffering. So, who do you really care about? Do you care about the corporate big-wigs, do you care about Mayor Bing who cares only about corporate big-wigs, or do you care about the citizens who you vow to protect?” Paige said.
WWJ’s Vickie Thomas spoke with Detroit City Councilman Kwame Kenyatta, who said the city is just trying to push the protestors out of the park ahead of the Thanksgiving Day parade, adding that he is against any such action.
“I would hope that we do not instigate a situation whereby you have Detroit on television, national and international television, arresting and beating people who refuse to move because the city has made a decision,” said Kenyatta.
Sarah Coffey, an organizer for Occupy Detroit, said they have a permit with the city to occupy the park, which is valid until Nov. 14. Mayoral Spokesman Dan Lijana said the 10 p.m. closure will not be enforced until Monday night — when their permit expires.
Occupy Detroit began in support of Occupy Wall Street, with groups protesting the actions of U.S. banks and other financial institutions amid the country’s economic crisis.