Occupy Wall Street movement arrives in Lansing, Grand Rapids
The Occupy Wall Street movement has arrived in Michigan with encampments in Lansing and Grand Rapids.
Since Friday activists in Lansing have camped out in downtown Reutter Park despite a city ordinance that prohibits use of the park after 10 pm without written permission.
On Monday night, Joshua Lavigne, Kevin Hogan, Steve Hudson and Michael Slamka were sitting in a circle around a lantern, sharing banana bread in front of a large cloth sign declaring, “We are the 99 percent.”
Each of them was there for a different reason.
Hogan wanted to learn more about the state of the country and the economic crisis to share with peers. Lavigne is having a hard time finding a job despite his college degree and Slamka is working a part-time retail job as he struggles to find work in construction.
Though the mainstream media claims that the Occupy protesters have no idea what they are asking for, this trio in Reutter Park said they want the economy to be reconnected to the people who are impacted by it.
“I like the fact that this movement isn’t political,” said Hudson. “It’s about social and economic justice.”
These men also say that the movement is about averting a potential civil war and raising up the voices of the people in order to restore democracy.
They shrugged off Tea Party claims that protesters are jobless communists.
“I am sure there are communists in the Occupy Wall Street Movement,” Hudson said. “So what? If they have good ideas they are welcome.”
Occupy Lansing activists said that Tea Party members, and everyone, is welcome to join in the demonstration.
Those in the park on Monday night stressed that while they have begun the occupation of Lansing, they are not the spokespeople for the movement that is expected to establish a much larger presence on Friday.
The final agenda of demands will be established Saturday during a general assembly gathering on the Capitol lawn, they said. There, the group will gather together, and through a variety of hand signals and human microphone they will come to consensus on the agenda and the direction of the movement.
Demonstrators said that Lansing Police officials have visited them in the park and informed that they are not in imminent danger of being kicked out of the park as long as the demonstration remained respectful.
If things change, and the Bernero administration orders the protesters removed from the park, Hudson and Lavigne said they were prepared to be arrested for what they believe in.
Activists also camped out in Grand Rapids over the weekend but were ejected from Ah-Nab-Awen Park by police last night.
Fox 17 in Grand Rapids reports that officers told 75 protesters they had to go, citing a city ordinance barring anyone from being in a city park after dark.