Occupy Nashville Protestors Told They Must Leave - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Occupy Nashville Protestors Told They Must Leave

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By Tim Wetzel

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Occupy Nashville protesters said they have been given an ultimatum: leave Legislative Plaza or be arrested.

The decision comes after growing complaints about fights and thefts at the site. Since October 7, about 85 people have been camping out overnight.

The protestors said they were asked to leave by 8 p.m. Thursday. Authorities do not want them to spend nights in tents, but said they will be allowed to protest during the day.

Governor Bil Haslam issued a nighttime curfew for the plaza. Protestors must leave the plaza at 10 p.m. starting Friday night, but they may return at 6 a.m. the following morning.

Officials with the state Department of General Services said the curfew was in response to safety concerns at the plaza, raised by the protestors themselves.

Protestors said no matter what, they are not going to leave.

"That's a constitutional right. Something I hold sacred, and I think most Americans hold sacred. So yeah, I will go to jail to protect my first amendment rights, absolutely," said protestor Mike Custer.

Protestors said it is not them causing the problems, it is a group of homeless people.

The protestors said they have six computers set up with cameras around the site. Occupy Nashville said they will have cameras "ready to roll" on the plaza and will stream live pictures when troopers move in.
Occupy Nashville Streaming Video

The protests have been taking place across the country, with several participants arrested. The Nashville protestors had complained about the lack of police in the area overnight when the problems were happening. 

Last week protestors complained about thefts. They claimed laptops, phones, and even a tent were stolen from the area.

They told troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol that a fellow protestor was assaulted, some homeless people have publicly urinated close to their site and a sex act was being committed near the War Memorial building.

The protestors said they were law-abiding, tax paying residents who have a right to police protection.

In Oakland, California, a clash between similar protestors and police left an Iraq War veteran in critical condition with a fractured skull.

Oakland officials allowed protesters back into the plaza outside City Hall where their 15-day-old encampment had been raided the day before, but said people would be prohibiting from spending the night.

About 1,000 people quickly filled the plaza, but later many of them filed out and began marching down nearby streets.

The demonstrators had been making an attempt to re-establish a presence in the area of a disbanded protesters' camp when they were met by officers in riot gear.

Several small skirmishes had broken out in the night with police clearing the area by firing tear gas and protesters throwing rocks and bottles at them.

(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)

 Email: twetzel@newschannel5.com
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