‘Occupy’ Protesters March To Court Wednesday
March To Support Those Cited Takes Place
CINCINNATI — Economic protesters who have been ticketed for occupying a Cincinnati public park took their fight to the courthouse.
The group Occupy Cincinnati staged a Wednesday march to the Hamilton County Justice Center, where one member of the group, Hugh Hirch, had a hearing on a police citation.
Lawyers submitted not guilty pleas for Hirch and other demonstrators who have been cited.
Officers have written tickets each of the past three nights to demonstrators who refused to leave downtown Cincinnati’s Piatt Park after its closing time. Each ticket comes with a $105 fine.
“For being in the park after hours, standing up for what I believe in, we have to pay for our first amendment right,” said protester John Moran. “It’s $105 dollars to pay for our First Amendment rights at all hours of the day.”
City officials said they don’t issue 24-hour permits that would allow the protesters to camp out in the park.
“I think it’s wrong,” said Chelsea Tunnell, of Loveland. “I think it’s imposing on our rights, since we’ve been establishing since the beginning of our country, and private corporations should not be able to pay to have it taken away.”
The demonstration mimics the weeks-old Occupy Wall Street protests in New York that have denounced corporate greed and the widening gap between rich and poor.
“Our focus has really been on Piatt Park, and getting a permit for being able to protest there and air our discontent and grievance there 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Aaron Roco, of Clifton.
Occupy Cincinnati Protestors Camp Out in Park
The Occupy Cincinnati movement is now in it’s third day and a group of protesters spent the night in a Downtown Cincinnati park, and were issued citations by police.
Organizers say 74 supporters showed up on Sunday night in Cincinnati’s Piatt Park to continue protests that began on Saturday. Organizers picked Piatt park because it was the city’s first public park, and they feel it is a symbol of the people’s place in democracy.
Police issued about 28 citations around 11 p.m. Sunday night for staying in the park past dark-that amounts to a fine of $105 for each protester and a mandatory court appearance on October 20th. The protesters then set up tents and a food and water supply and spent the night sleeping there.
Organizers plan to stay in Piatt Park indefinitely. They met at 6 a.m. to plan their actions for today.
The Occupy Cincinnati protests are an off-shoot of the demonstrations which began on Wall Street in mid-September. The movement is meant to demonstrate against perceived corporate greed and general social inequality. Protesters say they are fed up with everything from high unemployment to their belief that the vast majority of Americans are paying more taxes while the wealthy and corporations pay less.
The “Occupy” movement has gained momentum in several cities across the country. In Cincinnati, demonstrations formally began on Saturday morning at Lytle Park. Later in the afternoon the group marched to Fountain Square. About 700 people participated.
source:Occupy Cincinnati Protestors Camp Out in Park – :: Cincinnati news story :: LOCAL 12 WKRC-TV in Cincinnati
’99 Percent’ Occupy Cincinnati
Several hundred protest wealth gap
by Scott Wartman and Amanda Van Benschoten
DOWNTOWN – Several hundred of the “99 percent” marched through Downtown and gathered on Fountain Square on Saturday as part of Occupy Cincinnati, inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protests of corporate power and greed that began in New York City three weeks ago.
They were students, teachers, retirees, married couples and families with young children – all fed up with the nation’s growing wealth gap and especially the concentration of money and power in the hands of a few.
“If we start gathering, people will start listening,” said Brad Weitz, 39, of Liberty Township.
Rising joblessness was one of the reasons Weitz and his wife Lynnea, 41, attended the rally on Fountain Square.
“I have a job, and I’m here to support those who do not,” Brad Weitz said.
The crowd gathered at Lytle Park around 11 a.m. before winding its way through Downtown, escorted by police and picking up protesters as it went.
Crowd members bore signs like “Waterboard Wall Street” and “Tax the Rich,” and chanted, “This is what democracy sounds like.”
The march ended with a rally at Fountain Square that lasted well into the night, as speakers railed against everything from corporate greed and political dysfunction to government spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But the nation’s wealth gap was the central message.
“One percent of the population controls 45-50 percent of the wealth of the nation,” said Nathan Lane of East Walnut Hills, an organizer of the event. “The information is freely available all over the place. It is very widespread. The top 400 individuals in the nation control as much wealth as the bottom 40 percent.”
When the Occupy Wall Street movement began, Lane watched the protests online. And two weeks ago, he met a group of people who wanted to bring Occupy Wall Street to Cincinnati.
“It’s just grown by leaps and bounds since. We’ve got almost 5,000 people liking our Facebook page. In two weeks time, I never would have imagined this occurring here,” Lane said. “I’m excited to see what form it takes.”
Alyshia Osborn, a 21-year-old graphic designer from Lebanon, also followed the Occupy Wall Street protests online.
When she heard they were spreading to other cities, she found the Occupy Cincinnati Facebook page and headed to Fountain Square with her sister.
“Corporations have too much power in politics. Us – the majority, the 99 percent – don’t have a voice,” she said.
“People want to skew (this movement) as the left’s answer to the tea party – it’s not,” she said. “It’s just everyone is tired of what’s going on, and we’re just trying to get our voices heard.”
Many in the crowd made their voices heard with homemade signs, including one by Tom Whalen of Taylor Mill that read, “I pay more federal taxes than General Electric and Bank of America combined.”
Whalen works in the financial services industry and hasn’t been laid off, but he’s still concerned about the direction of the country.
“I just think it’s gotten totally out of whack, the balance of power in this country,” Whalen said. “The corporations have all the power and the people have none.”
Occupy Cincinnati organizers said Saturday’s event was only the beginning: they plan to hone their message as the movement evolves, and they believe it will have a tangible impact.
“We are at the beginning of this,” Lane said. “I honestly do not know what form this is going to take. That’s part of what’s exciting about this. It is just the open possibility out there. We have yet to find out what that will be.”
The Occupy Cincinnati protesters assembled peacefully: although the event lasted 13 hours, no arrests were reported into the night.
While the protesters’ permit for Fountain Square ran out at 1 a.m. Sunday, many said a group planned to risk arrest by camping out. Lane said those not arrested would continue to walk the streets Downtown.
“If that means there’s people at 2 or 3 in the morning marching down the sidewalk, then that’s the form it takes,” he said.
Organizer Kristin Brand of Bond Hill said Occupy Cincinnati will continue, although there is no location where protesters can camp out around the clock as in other cities.
“During the week it’s going to be less people, because a lot of us do work despite what the media says,” she said. “There’s a small group of people that plan to do it every day.”
The protests have highlighted the hardships many people across the country have faced during the past few years, said Aaron Roco of Northside, another organizer.
Roco has been laid off three times in 18 months and now works two part-time jobs.
“These are just real people in real situations, and there’s thousands, if not millions, of these people out there,” Roco said. “I realize it is not just me having trouble, everybody is. All my friends are. No one can find a job or everyone is underwater with a mortgage. These are real-life concerns.”