Grave Concern for Occupy Nashville Protesters

So far to date, the mainstream media has not provided fair and unbiased reporting on The Occupy Movement, with social media, YouTube videos and live streaming broadcasts providing a much larger perspective. The forced evictions of Occupy protests and encampments from publicly owned properties across the nation now pose a grave threat to thousands of peaceful protesters. With the Oakland police raid going so badly, in Nashville, Tennessee, there is now concern of another potentially ugly police standoff.

According to State spokeswoman Lola Potter “…the state has requested that, beginning tomorrow, protesters obtain permits under newly minted guidelines for the use of Legislative Plaza and other state property…”

When asked what the state would do if protesters are not granted a permit but remained at the Plaza, she responded “I’m not going to pontificate on hypothetical situations. We’re going to ask them to abide by the regulations. I think we have a responsibility to maintain safety and security. It’s part of the Capitol”

She later added that “The Occupy Nashville movement will have to obtain and show proof of liability insurance and also cough up $65 a day in order to comply with new permitting requirements the state plans to begin enforcing at Legislative Plaza tomorrow.”

The new “rules” ban overnight occupancy, and imposes a 10 PM to 6 AM “curfew period” according to the same article in the Tennessean, with permits for “assemblies and gatherings of persons” to be obtained on a daily basis.

Beginning on October 7th, 2011, citizens began an occupation of Legislative Plaza in downtown Nashville, TN. According to a Wednesday morning article on Nashville’s News 2 – “Occupy Nashville protesters say they’re prepared to be arrested and they plan to go into custody peacefully if they are.”

Despite the group’s intentions to go into custody peacefully should an eviction be enforced, there is quite a bit of concern among many, one noting on a related message board that “The police who come tonight are going to be wound way to tight and the chance of some really bad police behavior is possible…” and another adding – “Occupy Nashville will inevitably end the same way Occupy Oakland ended…”

While this police enforced eviction is still uncertain, their failure to respond to some recent calls regarding the safety of the protesters has been noted on the Occupy Nashville Website.

“During this time, citizens with this movement have witnessed illegal activity, destruction of property and been victim to brutality by individuals not affiliated with Occupy Nashville at Legislative Plaza. We have, with each incident, been diligent about reporting these acts to the proper metro and state authorities. Shockingly, with many of these occurrences, there has been a failure by the authorities to respond at Legislative Plaza, putting citizens at increased risk…”

In a live chat on the Tennessean website, I was informed that on different occasions people have infiltrated and disrupted the encampment, one commenter stating that “These folks like to come in dressed or mingling with the homeless. When asked to leave or to move to a different area, they say they are with the homeless and try to use that as a victimization ploy. However when the others are one seems to know these people.”

Regardless of all these efforts to discourage and evict the Occupy Nashville movement from Legislative Plaza, a poll on the Tennessean website shows that 83% feel that the protesters should not be removed.

But the larger question remain. Is a forced eviction imminent? Will the state keep changing the rules? Hopefully, this will not soon become another Oakland.