Protect Occupy Baltimore


NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–October 25, 2011.  Occupy Baltimore has been peacefully gathering in McKeldin Square on the corner of Pratt & Light Streets since October 4th, 2011. Today marks the start of the fourth week of the encampment. Early last week, after pressure from the Baltimore City police department and the department of parks and recreation, Occupy Baltimore filed an application for a permit to continue the encampment indefinitely.

On Monday, Occupy Baltimore received word that the Department of Parks & Recreation Department has not approved their permit application, and instead suggested a compromise that would allow Occupy Baltimore to continue to occupy McKeldin Square indefinitely without a permit during the daytime hours, but limit overnight presence to a maximum of 2 people, and restrict the encampment as a whole to a smaller corner of the Square. The city has asked for an answer to the proposed deal by Wednesday Oct 26th and stated that if Occupy Baltimore agrees, they will not be removed from the park for failing to obtain a permit. Should Occupy Baltimore refuse to comply with the requests to limit the overnight presence, then the city “has the right to terminate these special accommodations,” though no specific date for termination has been announced. In preparation for any possible intervention by the city, Occupy Baltimore participants are issuing a general call for all allies to join the encampment starting tonight to support and protect the group sustaining the occupation at McKeldin Square.

Over the course of the past three weeks, Occupy Baltimore has begun a directly democratic dialogue, and considering their peaceful and respectful assembly, the group requests that the city allow them to maintain this peaceful democratic space, as city government counterparts have in Philadelphia and Washington DC. Representatives of Occupy Baltimore, assisted by the Maryland chapter of the ACLU, are currently in discussion with the Department of Parks and Recreation about possible negotiations on the proposed deadline and the overnight stay limitations. These limitations present a clear concern for the Occupation, which has a complex and pre-existing infrastructure, including dedicated teams for media, food, direct action, outreach, security, and other working groups that require consultation and consideration, as well as physical space onsite.

Occupy Baltimore is committed to maintaining a vibrant, safe space in McKeldin Square as the movement continues to grow an organic infrastructure of democratic representation, arts, culture, and Political debate while still allowing the public to pass through McKeldin Square, and inviting them to join in the occupation and associated activities.

Occupy Baltimore recognizes that their requests are outside of the box for the city’s existing permit system, but encourages the city to work alongside peaceful and respectful demonstrators to create a legal space where all voices can be heard.

The Occupation remains hopeful that the City of Baltimore will continue to work with the movement in the coming days and weeks to ensure the continued existence of this peaceful gathering. Participants state, however, that they are closely monitoring police presence in the area as the city’s deadline approaches. They encourage supporters to maximize presence in the Square starting today, and continuing throughout the week, should the authorities decide to clear the area on or after the Wednesday, October 26 deadline.