Occupy Louisville Uncertain of Metro Government

by Devin Katayama on December 28, 2011

Louisville Metro officials say they plan on being flexible with Occupy Louisville demonstrators next week, but that doesn’t make the demonstrators comfortable.

Officials representing several different areas of Metro Government told members of Occupy Louisville last week that they will re-issue a permit for the protest for the new year, but the permit will not allow for overnight camping. Demonstrators say that doesn’t work for them.

The city allowed demonstrators to keep tents up since relocating to Founder’s Square from Jefferson Square Park over a month ago. The permit issued expires on Dec. 31 at midnight but the city says it’ll wait until after the holiday break before taking any action.

Mayoral spokesman Chris Poynter said the city has now given the new permit to the county attorney’s office for review.

“We want to make sure this is a very thoughtful process, that we abide by the constitution and we also abide by the local city laws,” Poynter said.

Until the county attorney has the chance to review the new permit, the city will not take any action against demonstrators, he said.

“Even though we won’t have the new permit by Jan. 2 or 3 because of the holidays and people being out, we’re not going to go in there and take away the tents on the short term. We’re going to allow them to stay up until a new permit is issued…until the county attorney has time to opine on the issue,” said Poynter.

The county attorney’s office will not release any public statements on the issue citing attorney/client privileges, said Bill Patteson, spokesman for the Jefferson County Attorney’s office.

The lack of communication has confused some demonstrators, said organizer Pam Newman. Demonstrators are unsure what the city plans to do if they refuse to remove their tents on request from the city, she said. But the city isn’t looking to turn Louisville into several other cities, like Denver or Oakland, where demonstrators have clashed with police, said Poynter.

Poynter didn’t say whether the city would force tents down if the permit is approved by the county attorney, but said it won’t likely happen at midnight on Jan 2.

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