As you all know, Netroots Nation will be in Providence next June and as you might have heard, Occupy Providence is facing court proceedings to remove them from the park.
Now, there's been some confusion on this about what will happen on Sunday. I want to be clear about this: The park is not being cleared this Sunday. (a la Occupy Oakland) Rather, the City of Providence will be filing papers in court to begin the proceedings to remove them from the park. (and it's possible - if unlikely - that the court will rule in favor of the protestors and they can stay).
The Occupation of Burnside Park began on October 15 and has been going ever since. The protesters have been proactively non-violent and been very clear that people who are down there to cause trouble are not welcome. If you don't believe me, here's a video from the Providence Journal that is hard to dispute the good intentions of the Occupiers.
You can also see the open and progressive nature of the occupation in their Statement of Purpose:
Occupy Providence is a gathering of people who seek to exercise their right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly, inspired by people’s occupations spreading rapidly across the globe. We occupy to demonstrate an alternative to the fundamental inequality and injustice of a system which places profit over people and oppression over liberation. We seek to give voice to the 99% — the majority of Americans, who have not been adequately represented in our flawed political process — by means of a truly democratic General Assembly. We believe in developing a society that is truly of, by and for the people. Our indefinite occupation is non-violent, non-destructive, non-discriminatory and harassment-free. Occupy Providence welcomes all people regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, ethnicity, age, level of ability, legal status, religious views or position on the political spectrum. We work towards organizing a movement capable of overcoming an unjust system and forming a new society within the shell of the old.I think that Mayor Taveras wants to do the right thing here, he just need a little nudge in that direction. In fact, when Mayor Taveras heard Ocuupy Providence would be delivering him a letter, he went out to the protest and met them there, then marched back to City Hall and his office with the Occupiers.
As we have seen this week in cities like Oakland, when peaceful occupations are dispersed through violent means, no good comes. That's why we are urging Mayor Taveras and the City of Providence to set an example for mayors across the country by working together with protestors to satisfy health and safety concerns instead of kicking them out.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is too important to be brushed aside. The grievances of income inequality and injustice in America are too great to allow this Occupation to be ended because of a park curfew. This is the moment where the American people have said ENOUGH to corporate greed and excess by the 1%.
Netroots Nation will be held next June in Providence, just blocks from Burnside Park. Throughout our planning, Mayor Taveras and his staff have been open and helpful. We are confident he will make the right decision and work with the protesters to find a workable solution to any health and safety concerns so they can continue their demonstration.