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St. Louis Mayor Plays Into Hands of Occupiers

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Slay to Kiener Plaza protesters: Move along!
On Friday, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said the Occupy St. Louis protesters must vacate Kiener Plaza, the downtown park where they've camped out now for over a month. In so doing, Slay gave the occupiers something their movement desperately needs: a solitary issue to rally around.

Almost as soon as Slay made the announcement on his blog, about 60 Occupy St. Louis protesters marched to City Hall. And while they may not all agree about what exactly it is they're protesting in Kiener Plaza, they were united in their solitary message to Slay: They're not vacating the park. No siree.

Until now, we here at Daily RFT have been pretty impressed with the city's handling of the Occupy movement.

Sure, there were a few arrests early on, but since then the police department and city officials have pretty much turned the other way in allowing the movement to break the city's curfew law for public parks.

Slay notes in his blog post that the city even made a permit for Occupy St. Louis members to use the park, but the movement rejected it. He doesn't add that that permit (viewable here) also prohibited them from camping (ie. "occupying" the park) and required them to come up with $300,000 in liability insurance to stage their protests.

That's absurd. But not as ridiculous as telling them to leave -- or else.

Now, instead of letting the protest die of its own accord -- which was almost guaranteed given the oncoming winter and a growing disinterest in the movement from the media and the general public -- Occupy St. Louis has a chance to make a name for itself on the national stage.

In most other cities, it's only been when police and bureaucrats have attempted to forcibly remove the occupiers from public parks that their demonstrations have made news. Look for the same to happen here in St. Louis and for Francis Slay to soon regret his decision.

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26 comments
Michael Draga
Michael Draga

Let's see if Mayor Slay will be the very REPUBLICAN he really is! He has ALWAYS been in the pockets of the rich and only been a democrat in NAME ONLY.

Metric
Metric

Occupy St. Louis is St. Louis's longest continual documented sit-in protest in history. 39 days and counting. Congratulations.

megarockradiostl
megarockradiostl

The minute the Constitution and Bill of Rights are edited from:

"the right to peacefully assemble and protest"

to

"the right to peacefully assemble and protest except during the hours of 10 PM and 6 AM"please let me know. Until then - as the right wing has told us repeatedly over the years - the Constitution and Bill of Rights trumps all local, state and federal laws.Any right wingers want to argue that legal standpoint as staunch defenders of those documents?

Craigs List
Craigs List

Negotiations are over. Information is being exfiltrated right now... Full swing ahead from Anonymous-STL...  

It has begun....

Bob Sacamano
Bob Sacamano

"Now, instead of letting the protest die of its own accord -- which was almost guaranteed given the oncoming winter and a growing disinterest in the movement from the media and the general public"Did you realize there was a fucking SUCCESSFUL general strike in Oakland on Nov 2nd due to their occupation? Do you even know of the strike support coming from St. Louis's occupation here in STL? Are you aware this is a GLOBAL leaderless movement that has yet to be co-opted by politicial parties, even though, as we all know, they do try their damndest.

"-- Occupy St. Louis has a chance to make a name for itself on the national stage."Negotiating with politicians doesn't give you power, in fact, quite the opposite. I do hope people realize this, and begin to realize their own power.This isn't going away. We've only just begun. (A)

aaronbbrown
aaronbbrown

'Now, instead of letting the protest die of its own accord -- which was almost guaranteed given the oncoming winter and a growing disinterest in the movement from the media and the general public...'

Do you have evidence to back up this statement Mr Garrison or is this simply the Wishful retoric/propaganda being pushed by the RFT's corporate ownership and Fox News?

This storie's spin would lead some,  specifically those With the a political agenda here in St. Louis, that Mayor Slay was doing this to help out the Occupy St. Louis movement, the kind of perspective you would only expect from the farthest right of right wingers.  Somehow I don't think the Occupy people would see it that way.

Sonia
Sonia

And if you read Slay's blog, he is very plain and fair about the situation:

Occupy STLThe participants in the nation’s Occupy movements, including those in St. Louis, are saying some important things about the direction of the country. I support their right to say them.During the weeks it has been camped here, Occupy St. Louis has had the opportunity to make its points heard and seen during some very high profile events, including a presidential visit and the World Series.I emphatically disagree with those who say that allowing the encampment to remain during those national events showed St. Louis in a bad light. Instead, I think it showed us to be a reasonable and compassionate place to live and work. Moving the Occupy residents simply to deny them a chance to tell their story to a large audience would have been wrong-headed and wrong-hearted.From the first week they arrived in Kiener Plaza, I have reminded the people who have gathered there to obey the law or accept the consequences – citations, arrest – of not doing so. That is the basic formula for civil disobedience in this country.In the intervening weeks, some arrests have been made; but, for the most part, the City’s ordinances regarding encampments in parks have not been enforced. (This is the kind of tolerance with which the City tries to handle minor matters about which no one complains and which do not threaten life or public safety. Food trucks operating outside the vending zones and the Gus’s Pretzel guy vending on Jamieson are other examples of that philosophy.) But, we went a little further than just ignoring the Occupy encampment. The City offered a permit and, even wrote one, but Occupy’s occupiers declined it.Over the past several days, there has been a rising tide of complaints. I know, and the Occupy participants know, that they cannot stay there forever. Bad weather and other programming for Kiener Plaza are racing each other to mark the end of their tenure.The City’s Parks Department has prepared a list of ordinances and regulations which it believes Occupy is in current violation. We will present that list to Occupy.I expect that we will reach an accommodation that allows Occupy to use Kiener Plaza, to exercise its First Amendment rights, but to follow City ordinances and regulations.

Sonia
Sonia

If there is an ordinance stating a curfew for the park, why should the protestors get an exemption?  I support what they are doing, but think that "bending laws" is part of the problem in the first place, and they certainly shouldn't ask for the laws to be bent for them.

Bill Hannegan
Bill Hannegan

Occupy would do well now to have one big banner proclaiming their main point. Something the cameras could focus on.

Adam
Adam

Might also help Slay if his Chief of Staff Rainford was willing to flatly deny that they were merely doing the bidding of the downtown business association: http://stlactivisthub.blogspot...

KITTY
KITTY

Slay threw them out so Kiener Plaza could be decorated for Christmas. He should have done it long ago. Thank God the protest has failed miserably. No one takes the bums seriously. They don't have union thug backing like in NYC and on the Left Coast. And, if forced removal of the protestors from public parks makes the news, so be it.  They have already made the news here, all to no avail. No one really gives a shit! Case closed.

Homeless Bum
Homeless Bum

Clearly the protesters need to leave so that the City can make room for Larry Rice.

Barely anyone uses the land on the Gateway Mall and this Is not a resisential area. What's the big deal here? I guess Slay's banker friends are upset.

Geraldina
Geraldina

Here's an article from over one year ago about how Wall Street helped the Greeks hide their financial problems so things could get even worse.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02...

Whether you're liberal or conservative, this article should make you extremely angry.  

Smith Shawn116
Smith Shawn116

This is good news. Thank you Slay. I stand with the protesters. you cant restrict someones right to protest with a curfew or saying you cant camp in a park that our tax dollars paid for. Where else would he like us to protest?We all need to stand up and take our country back. Pay attention.

Sonia
Sonia

Totally not true.

Sonia
Sonia

If there is an ordinance including a curfew then being in Kiener Plaza after that curfew is illegal just like being in any other park after curfew, regardless of what you are doing there.

anonymous
anonymous

I was going to come up with something clever to say, but instead, I'm just going to say this: Second'd.

Dlee4144
Dlee4144

We are preparing for winter- sterno stoves and chemical warmers.  There is plenty of money now to keep us supplied through the winter.  The main problem is boredom, and it looks like we may have some excitement coming.

Timothy A Reeder
Timothy A Reeder

I couldn't agree more. I support the Occupy movement but you can't say wall street needs to play by the rules but we don't. If you think it's an unfair law than by all means stay, but understand that you will be arrested, let you're arrest show you're willingness to sacrifice for what you believe in. 

Jimbob
Jimbob

How's this?

"No one is winning when they are cheating.  Signed THE99%."

J N
J N

for each sentence...no , didn't happen...no he didn't...no it has not failed lol...uh yes they do...don't know about that...ok...not...not...not...

ErikO
ErikO

Last time I checked, both the Federal AND STATE constitutions trump local laws for the 1st Aemdment.  It is not like the 2nd in Missouri where local laws override state laws; even still the Federal Constitution trumps the whole thing.

The actions taken against the Bonus Army were just as illegal as the actions taken against the Occupiers. 

Oh yeah, and Mayor Slay owes me $550 for the tent that got crushed on Saturday morning.  I'll befiling my complaint paperwork tomorrow.

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