CMPD to Occupy: No permission to camp out

CMPD to Occupy: No permission to camp out


by DIANA RUGG / NewsChannel 36 Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @DianaRuggwcnc

Posted on September 2, 2012 at 8:19 AM

Updated Sunday, Oct 27 at 2:09 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tents have popped up in Marshall Park in uptown Charlotte overnight, and the people in them say law or no law, they're not moving.

The new group of Occupiers returned to uptown early Saturday morning, saying that just like delegates, they need a place to sleep. 

They also want to make their voices heard by "occupying" a public space during the convention.

"I could have gotten a place to stay here but we're here specifically to occupy in a public space where people can see us," said Yoni Miller, in front of his short, blue tent.

"The protesters here have committed to being nonviolent, and we're not going to be here for the long term, only the short term," he said. Miller came from New York for the DNC, by way of the Republican convention in Tampa last week.

Camping has been against the law in county parks for years, and just this year, was banned from other public places. 

Charlotte city leaders created the new rules with the DNC in mind, even clearing an Occupy Charlotte encampment at City Hall in January.

But the Occupiers are back -- and are camping in Marshall Park under the watchful eyes of dozens of police officers.

"Our understanding with the city is we should not be bothered by police officers," said Michael Zytkow, who called himself a liaison between the city and the occupy movement. 

"We'll be able to maintain our occupation."

But Saturday afternoon, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police sent a statement to NewsChannel 36 saying no permission had been given.

"City and County officials have not given permission to camp in any parks," the statement read. 

"Local law enforcement is assessing the situation and will evaluate enforcement options to ensure public safety.  The city's intent is to have a peaceful and successful convention."

Miller said that's the campers' intentions too, and they have no plans to leave.

"I'm prepared to be arrested for doing what I know is right," he said.