“Occupy” Still Occupying Texas Cities Peacefully
Police in New York City forcibly removed the flagship Occupy Wall Street protest early Tuesday morning. Nothing similar has happened here in Texas . . . yet.
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Is Occupy Dallas about to follow in Occupy Wall Street’s footsteps? As Scott Goldstein of the Dallas Morning News reported, Tuesday a federal judge denied the group’s request for a temporary restraining order to keep the city of Dallas from shutting down Occupy’s encampment behind city hall, though that doesn’t mean the city plans to do so.
New York City police forcibly removed Occupy from Zuccotti Park early Tuesday morning. The protestors have since returned, but are now prohibited from camping overnight.
In Dallas, Occupy representatives and city officials have been engaged in ongoing negotiations about what is and isn’t allowed at the site, based on an agreement that was first signed in October and is not due to expire until December 14. The two sides planned to meet again this morning; at the end of the day yesterday, Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings told the Dallas Observer no action was imminent.
Such cooperation has been typical in Texas, even when there have been disagreements and arrests.
In El Paso, Occupiers ultimately complied with the city’s request to vacate San Jacinto Plaza early Monday morning to make way for Christmas decorations. Aaron Bracamontes of the El Paso Times reported that the protesters have requested permits for an alternate location.
And in San Antonio, Jessica Kwong of the San Antonio Express-News wrote, “protesters have bent over backward to keep peace with the city and law enforcement.” Said city councilman Diego Bernal, “they have the best relationship with city government of any Occupy group in any major city in the U.S.”
Even in Austin, where the October 29 arrests of 45 people shocked the famously progressive populace, things have calmed back down. The conflict was sparked when the protestors were prohibited from servingfood after 10p.m. When police arrested those who took exception to this, a second group chose to resist a regularly scheduled power-washing that had previously happened without incident. Those arrested for trespassing would ordinarily not be allowed to return to City Hall for a year, but the city has promised to review that on an individual basis (if requested). Writes Michael King of the Austin Chronicle,
… the city and the Occupiers have restored a tentative truce. The city has adjusted some of its practices, and the Occupiers (with some push-back) have largely deferred to the regulations governing the use of the City Hall grounds. Considering the mass (and occasionally violent) arrests in other cities, Austin’s experience has been relatively peaceful and effective…
Occupy Houston is less happy at the moment. Their Tranquility Park site is supposed to be tent-free, and police have also said they can’t use tarps to cover up food or equipment when it rains. Seven people were arrested on November 8 because of this, and yesterday, Mike Glenn of the Houston Chronicle reported, one more protestor was added to that toll.