How Long Do They Get To Stay?
How long do the Occupy Providence protesters get to stay in the park with tents up, food kitchens cooking, medical tents operating? How long until the city tells them that it’s time to go, they had their time for protesting and now they’re done? Of course, whenever that comes, they’ll all claim that their constitutional right to assembly has been violated. Was this what the writers of the US Constitution had in mind when they put that into the First Amendment?
At least the city and state has some precedent. Remember Camp Runamuck*? The tent city group who pitched their tents under the I-195 overpass as a way of protesting the homelessness problem in Providence? After a few months, the state told them it was time to go and the city promptly erected fences in the area to keep people out.
I don’t think there’ll be any fences put up around Burnside Park any time soon, but the Occupiers made their statement, they got their press and now what? When does it just become another tent city? If the protesters want to keep protesting, then why not have a daily or weekly march? They don’t all have to live in tents to do that. Simply set a specific time each day or week and then hold the protests.
The protesters in other cities have been going at it for longer than Providence, however that shouldn’t keep the authorities here from taking a stand, thanking the protesters for keeping it civil but tell them they’re welcomed back any time to protest but now it’s time to go.
*link is to a newspaper in New Orleans as many links to old projo.com stories no longer return any content.