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Occupy group can protest, not camp



Published: Tue, March 20, 2012 @ 12:01 a.m.

By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Members of Occupy Youngstown can protest on Central Square, but the city’s law director said there will be no compromise when it comes to the group re-establishing an encampment there with a tent, burn barrel and sleeping bags.

Law Director Anthony Farris and Staughton Lynd, a retired attorney and Occupy Youngstown member serving as its legal representative, met Monday with Timothy G. Welsh, a magistrate with the Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, for a status hearing.

“We’re being amicable, but we stand by our laws,” Farris said. “We can’t negotiate our laws. This is unlikely to be settled.”

Occupy Youngstown filed a lawsuit Nov. 16 seeking to require the city to return items — including the tent, burn barrel and sleeping bags — seized by police five days earlier because city officials said the encampment violated city ordinances.

The group has had no success in the court system though the police returned the tent to an Occupy member who owns it under the condition it not be used on Central Square again.

A request for a temporary restraining order to use the tent and barrel was dismissed the day it was filed. The group withdrew its request for a preliminary injunction Jan. 19 because the two sides are working toward a resolution. As of Monday, one hasn’t been found.

All the group has left is a permanent restraining order.

At a Monday status conference, Welsh scheduled a bench trial for Oct. 16.

Occupy Youngstown, an offshoot of the national Occupy movement, had a strong presence on Central Square for a few months before police seized the items.

Now, Jeremiah Blaylock of Canfield, an Occupy member and one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said he’s at the location every Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, most of the time by himself.

If the group wants to use the location for a specific event with an expected crowd, it can seek a permit from the city to do so, Farris said. The group is pursuing the matter in court because it wants the tent and burn barrel to return when the temperature drops, Lynd said.

“We don’t intend to be there permanently, but to be permitted to exercise our First Amendment rights,” Lynd said.

This is a case of selective prosecuting, Lynd and Blaylock said. Others have had burn barrels and tents, and the city did nothing to stop those practices, they said.


Comments

1rightofronnie(11 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

You 'Occupy" people really need to find something constructive to do with your lives. How about a JOB? First of all, how lame is your protest that you are only there 9-5 Mondays through Fridays? Since when did protesting work off of bankers hours? Either you are there full time or you arent. If you are there full time, and truly believe in what you are doing, then you do it WITHOUT all of the amenities. You are standing on PUBLIC property, not PRIVATE property, which means you have to abide by the rule of law. You cannot build a tent, a house, a barn, or any other structure that you need. You cannot burn things in a barrel, and you cannot get in the way of what the rest of the PUBLIC needs to do in that space! The occupy movement is dead, and you need to leave it alone. Go on about your business and find another cause that you can go and protest. I know...how about the fact that gas is almost $5 a gallon and the President refuses to allow the offshore drilling or the Keystone Pipeline!

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2Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Nice name

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3doubled(210 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

hey rightofronnie -- you're aware that the Democratic Part in congress put forth a bill that required 75% of the oil produced by the Keystone Pipeline to be sold here in the USA --- the reasoning was that it would help our country break it's need for foreign oil. 94% of Republicans in congress voted against it......

So do me a favor, if you're going to support the gop/tea party, at least get a clue as to who your leaders are actually fighting for -- and one hint is that it's not you....it's Exxon, it's Mobil, it's BP, etc, etc, etc...only b/c they can sell their oil for more in China than they can in the USA, which means bigger profits for them and more campaign contributions for your gop/tea leaders...Why do you think the gop/tea fights soooo hard to keep the gov't tax subsidies for the big oil companies?? Do you think it's b/c it keeps the price of oil down?? No, it's b/c it means more profit - and all at the taxpayers' expense -- your expense. So if you don't like Obama, that's one thing, but if you're gonna support the other guys, at least get a clue as to whose side the other guy is on.

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