28 October, 2011 Nashville, Tennessee Legislative Plaza At 3:00 a.m. approximately 100 police officers, including SWAT teams and K-9 units arrived at Legislative Plaza where the Occupy Nashville movement has been exercising its first amendment right to peaceful protest since the 6th of October.
So begins a press release posted on the Occupy Nashville website. It continues ...
They informed the occupants that they had ten minutes to leave the plaza or they would begin to arrest those who refused to leave.
The "grounds" for their arrest was a new regulation that had gone into effect a mere three hours ealier, at 12:01 am. Because of that time frame, Night Court Commissioner, Tom Nelson "refused to sign the warrants", citing lack of probable cause and pointing out that there was insufficient time for the protesters to respond to the new statute.
Not wanting to miss an opportunity to stomp all over the US Constitution, the Tennessee Highway Patrol decided to cite the two dozen or so arrestees with criminal trespassing. From the Tennessean ...
Just before 9 a.m., the Occupy Nashville protesters emerged from a downtown parking garage cheering and waving criminal trespass citations.
The rest of the the Occupy Nashville press release below the orange danish ...
Many of the protesters refused to vacate the premises, so at 3:10 a.m. police began arresting people. Approximately 22 protesters were handcuffed with zip-ties, photographed, and guided into a bus that contained holding cages.
The scene was calm, but tense. Protesters and police conducted themselves peacefully, with both police and citizen observers filming the scene and taking photographs. Those occupiers who complied with the police demand to vacate the plaza were informed, after they exited the plaza, that any belongings that remained would be confiscated.
Occupy Nashville was prepared for this situation. Possible removal by police had been discussed for several days prior to the police action; those protesters who were willing to be arrested took classes beforehand concerning methods of non-resistant arrest. Many protesters chose to be peaceful observers to ensure proper documentation of the eviction. The Tennessee Highway Patrol has notified us that they will have a press conference at 9:00 am Friday regarding the matter.
There has been an outpouring of support across the state of Tennessee, throughout the country and the world for these individuals in Nashville, who have chosen to take a stand against the corporate takeover of our government and extreme inequality that has put a stranglehold on our nation.
Occupy Nashville will continue their struggle to demand that our voices freely be heard in public spaces. We will continue to demand an end to the pervasive corruption that has resulted from corporate control of our government. And we will continue to support the Occupy Wall Street movement. We are the 99% And so are you.
And so are you.
* I should point out that the TN Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security is not the DHS. It's a Tennessee state agency.
If you would like to object to these heavy-handed tactics , here are the key players ...
Governor Bill Haslam: 615-741-2001, email@example.com
Steve Cates, Department of General Services: 615-741-2081, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dalya Qualls, Tennessee Highway Patrol: 615-251-5131