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Occupy Youngstown protestors plan to hold their ground

Published: Sat, November 12, 2011 @ 12:08 a.m.


By David Skolnick



Occupy Youngstown members say they aren’t leaving the city’s Central Square and will decide today if they’ll replace the tent, burn barrel and other items confiscated by police.

Police Chief Rod Foley had ordered the group, part of the national Occupy Wall Street movement, to remove the tent, barrel, chairs, sleeping bags, tarps and other items from the location by midnight Thursday, citing city-ordinance violations.

But Occupy Youngstown members refused to comply with the order.

About a dozen Occupy members sat in front of the tent at midnight with their hands behind their backs.

Midnight came and went.

About 7:30 a.m. Friday, a police officer gave the four Occupy Youngstown members by the tent a warning that the items would be confiscated, said Luke Walker, who was among the four.

Five minutes later, about a dozen police officers and firefighters took away the tent, burn barrel, three chairs and several wooden signs in the tent, Walker said.

The Occupy members offered no resistance, Walker and Foley said.

“We didn’t want to get into a fistfight,” Foley said about waiting until 7:30 a.m. Friday. “We didn’t want to go in when emotions were hot and heavy. We probably should have been more stringent from the start.”

But this is not over, Occupy Youngstown members say.

Three protesters remained Friday night, and the group will meet at noon today at the Central Square location to discuss its next move, said Brandon Smith, an Occupy Youngstown spokesman.

The group has no plans to leave the location, said Thomas Sabatini, a member.

Occupy members still are considering putting up another tent and replacing the confiscated items, Sabatini said.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if this continues again and again” he said. “We have the right to remain in a public space and express public opinion.”

If Occupy Youngstown puts up another tent, it also will come down, Mayor Charles Sammarone and Foley said.

“They were starting to create a nuisance,” Sammarone said. “They started stretching what they were doing. It was first a rally [on Oct. 15], then the pickets. Those are fine. But then the tent went up.”

There is no issue with the group protesting, Foley and Sammarone said.

The issue is the tent, burn barrel, sleeping bags, tarps, wood and other items, they said.

Foley said he has mixed emotions about taking the group’s stuff.

“I slept with one eye open,” he said. “Are we doing the right thing? It’s not criminal behavior, but we have to enforce the law and enforce the codes and be consistent. Hopefully, we can get back to normal.”

The city is getting ready to put up its holiday decorations downtown, and the Occupy Youngstown items are in the way, Sammarone said.

“What’s happening in society today?” he said. “People think they can break the law and get away with it. I don’t understand it.”

Occupy Youngstown members criticized the mayor for saying in Friday’s edition of The Vindicator: “It’s like when I was a school administrator, if you give a kid an inch, they’ll take a yard.”

“Democracy is not child’s play,” Sabatini said. “The only thing infantile is a mayor thinking he rules people who want to express free speech.”

Occupy members want to meet with Sammarone to discuss why their items were confiscated and what can be done to clear up issues between the group and city officials, Walker said.

Sammarone said he is receptive to a discussion.

Also, Occupy members plan to attend Wednesday’s city council meeting and speak with council members.


1Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

The handiwork of the parasites/occupy Oakland.

Contains foul language.


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2Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

This is Youngstown not Oakland. Try and focus on the issues.

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3whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Some big cause, down to the 3 stooges, yapping about not having a burn barrel.

You guys made your point, anything else is just a nuisiance.

If you really wanted to do something change your majors and get into Politics and change the laws.

Other then that, get to the U.P. or go to Oregon and join the militia.

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4author50(1121 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Why don't they just hang inside The Lemon Grove now that the election is over?

Irony: the protestors supported the police and fire union(s) who now took away their burn barrel. Not much solidarity now.

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5UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Now that SB5 was defeated, the Democrats and their police and fire union buddies are sticking it to the Occupy Youngstown crowd. Shame shame shame!

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6chuck_carney(499 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Lets not forget about the teachers union and We Are Ohio. As long as the Occupiers were handing out their literature and backing the union way, everything was great. But where are they now. So nice being used and co-opted. It's the union way.

Author50 is right on point. NO SOLIDARITY. The SB5 opponents only wanted to protect their money and future secuty. It was all about the money, unfortunately not the taxpayers.

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7Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

They are a fine addition to the downtown . Let them stay . . ..

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8valleyred(1103 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Sabatini... I had this guy for a history class down at YSU.

All I can say is wow.

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9OhioAtty666(19 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Sammarone and the police chief should be happy that Occupy Youngstown is in Central Square with their tents and sleeping bags. Everyone else wants to get out of town by 5:30 p.m. to get home to Boardman, Canfield and Poland. The Occupy Youngstown people might be the only people in the County who want to stay overnight in the city.

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10pgurney(296 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

oh pfffttt...

They have NO problem whatsoever with the PEOPLE being there. It's the tent, burn barrels, sleeping bags, etc that there is an issue with. Who wants to drive/walk by and see all that crap? Not me.

People with signs is one thng. A campground in downtown is entirely different and not welcome, imo.

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11Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Having your stuff seized by the YPD and the association with the criminal network of OWS does not help "the message." Yes, you are getting attention, but much like a screaming toddler, it is negative attention.

Wouldn't it be wiser to get media coverage of focused and even theatrical picketing, start a t-shirt campaign, raise money through the unions and liberal groups for ad campaigns, and lobby Tim Ryan and the US Senators for the reforms you seek? Additionally, I would denounce the actions of the other parasite/OWS groups (ie, 10 policemen were injured in Oakland), and even change the name to distance yourselves from the negative attention the other groups are receiving. These high profile actions would enhance your legitimacy and seriousness, and be more effective.

People will not take seriously fringe and bizarre behavior. Often I wonder what the percentage of mentally ill is that compose the parasite/OWS movement. The worst enemy of the parasites/OWS is not Wall Street, it is the parasites themselves.

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12ytownredux(117 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I fully commend and endorse the Occupy Youngstown movement for their objective of bringing attention to the many ills we are facing right now. My hope is that they will get over the need to occupy 24-7, but will now be targeted occupiers where it will create an impact. Their message is really not reaching anyone Sun-Thur from 10pm or so on to 7am, and after 2 on weekends til morning. After so long on one street corner, you become nothing more than part of the Scenery. Ask the Santa's Bell Ringers.

Target different locations and during high traffic times for maximum effect. It can be every day, or 3 times a week where they can get more than 4 to show at a time. If they are committed to keeping the momentum 24-7, spend the off hours in Dennys or Perkins, planning your next day and not needing tents or other eyesores in their wake.

I am dismayed to see so many naysayers on here being derogatory to the very idea of free speech and to create a government by the people and for the people. Nonsocialist is a typical Rush Limbaugh type that needs to create a demoralizing buzzword to make themselves feel important. I am happy the last comment only had 3 parasite references, restraint must be coming slowly.

I hope your meeting today at noon goes well and you find ways to make Occupy Youngstown a voice in changing our democracy for the better.

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13bikerdadbmw(12 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

This whole issue was handled poorly.

A permit to demonstrate is required, that's a fact. Surely there are requirements on the permit. What was issued seems to have been a permit to lay siege to Youngstown not demonstrate. Mistake one.

Free speech is every citizens right. However the definition of demonstration wasn't defined and held to.

Take out a permit for 8 hour demonstration for specified hours after which the demonstrators leave in a mannerly fashion taking any litter they created with them.

Still want to exercise free speech O.K. Apply for another permit with conditions explained. And so forth.

It does seem that free reign was given and I can't help but think being against Issue 2 helped grease the wheels in City Hall.

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14webad(156 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

It's clear that many posters in this thread do not understand the meaning of "protest". Take out a permit? It's not a protest if you cower to your oppressors. I suggest to any Occupy Youngstown brave occupiers who may be reading this ... contact the National Lawyers Guild: http://www.nlg.org
for help protecting yourselves from the bootlicks, lap dogs, and police of the great and prosperous city of Youngstown, populated mostly by ignorant voters who created their own problems in the first place.

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15pgurney(296 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Since when is having to obey the law cowering to your oppressors?? Why should the members of this group be treated any differently from any other law-abiding citizen? The law is in place to keep peace and order, not oppress anyone. If you feel oppressed I can get you some Prozac, geeeze. As said before, our Mayor, police Chief, et al have no problem with the PEOPLE being there. Carry a sign, if you must, I doubt that anyone cares?? But tents and burn barrels and sleeping bags? Go find a campground, for cramminies sake. This ain't Lake Milton.

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16webad(156 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Civil disobedience - The active, professed refusal to obey certain laws, demands, and commands of a government. Civil disobedience is commonly defined as being nonviolent resistance. It is one form of civil resistance.

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17YtownArtist(50 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago


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18Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

@pgurney "Since when is having to obey the law cowering to your oppressors?? " - -Jim Crow, blacks sitting on the backs of buses , separate but equal education to name a few. Open mouth and remove foot.

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19webad(156 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Here is what Denver's finest did to peaceful protesters exercising their 1st Amendment rights yesterday Nov 12, 2011.

The 1st amendment to the US Constitution protects the freedom of religion, speech, and the press, as well as the right to assemble and petition the government.


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