LR Occupiers have until May 16 to relocate | News
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The Occupy Little Rock Movement began six months ago and has since become a permanent fixture at 4th and Ferry Streets. But now, the city says that fixture has three weeks to get out.
Resting in the shadow of downtown Little Rock at the corner of 4th and Ferry is a small town, a camp for Occupy Little Rock protestors like Greg Deckelman.
"We've been here for just a little over six months. There are about twenty people a day here. On the weekend, those numbers swell up. We have our own solar energy, our own wind energy. We supply our own water here, our own bathrooms," says Deckelman. "Occupy started at the Clinton Library and then we were given a permit by the city to come occupy this parking lot with an open ended date."
Monday, Police Chief Stuart Thomas delivered a new permit to the site with a new date to vacate.
"We're approaching the high traffic season, so we've informed The Occupy Group that they need to move from that lot by May 16," says Lt. Terry Hastings with the Little Rock Police Department.
He says with Riverfest and several other summer tourism events just around the corner, the lot is needed for additional bus parking.
"We are working with them, talking with them, trying to find solutions. We're not telling them they have to get out of town. We're telling them we just need them off that lot and see if we can find another place for them to go," says Lt. Hastings.
Deckleman says with the deadline approaching, finding a new site will be a challenge.
"We know of no private property options at this point. We don't want to get into a situation where it deteriorates into a PR war with the city. We want everybody to win in the situation," says Deckleman.
A win for Occupy would mean finding a new site, and the city says they are more than willing to help.
"We're not restricting their protest at all. We'll help them just as we have in the past and as we always have. It's been a good working relationship with them. In fact, I think we've been the model in the nation with dealing with Occupy. We haven't had the problems here that some of the other cities have had and we want to continue that," says Lt. Hastings.
"I believe and everyone at Occupy Little Rock believes that is possible," says Deckleman who insists no matter the outcome, their civility will not change.
"Whatever Occupy Little Rock does, you can guarantee and take it to, I started to say bank but a savings and loan that it's going to be peaceful," says Deckleman.
Leaders from Occupy Little Rock met with the Mayor Tuesday afternoon to talk about their options. They say those talks will continue tomorrow and hope a resolution will come sooner rather than later.
City ordinance prevents camping in public parks, which is why they were forced to move the first time from the Clinton Library. Lt. Hastings says private property is probably their best option and occupiers say they are hoping supporters will come forward and possibly donate a place for their camp.