Occupy Louisville Discusses City’s Decision Not To Allow Tents

by Devin Katayama on December 19, 2011

Occupy Louisville demonstrators say they plan to stand up to Metro Government, which has decided not to allow the group to erect tents past Jan. 2.

“Not many are going to come and stand around if they can’t occasionally get warm, if they can’t meet with other people who are going to be there. It would really defeat the whole purpose of this particular occupy movement,” said attorney Ken Nevitt, who represents Occupy Louisville pro bono.

Nevitt and a small handful of demonstrators met with public officials last week to discuss the group’s permit which expires at the end of the year. Tents have remained up at Founder’s Square for the past month and many demonstrators stay in the park around the clock to protest corporate greed and inequality. But with future permits, camping will not be a negotiable issue at any other location that is city owned, said Nevitt.

The decision is based partly on opening the space to others who may want to use the park, said Louisville’s Director of Codes and Regulations Jim Mims. Occupy Louisville and Metro Government have maintained an amicable relationship so far, and Mims wants that to continue, he said.

“We’re feeling are way through this just like everybody else. This is an unusual request and usually, as you might imagine, special event permits are for day-long, two-day-long, week-long events tops,” Mims said.

But maintaining that amicable relationship may be difficult if demonstrators decide to keep tents up past Jan. 2. Demonstrators met Sunday to discuss what actions they want to take and they have scheduled a press conference on Tuesday to discuss it publicly.

Mims is hopeful that the demonstrators can reach an agreement that doesn’t include spending the night.

“We ask that they come back to us this week with some proposals. We in turn are looking at some options that may be available for them that may be more accommodating. So when we get back together hopefully we’ll come up with a game plan that represents a mediation point for both interests,” Mims said.

Nevitt said no definitive decisions have been made by the occupy group. While not an official spokesman, he said future actions that have been discussed include possible legal challenges or civil disobedience.

Mims said he expects to meet with demonstrators once more before year’s end to discuss other possible accommodations.

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