Occupy OKC Protesters Forced to Leave Kerr Park


Tuesday, December 13th 2011, 9:40 pm
By: News 9


Tents downtown are coming down just as fast as they went up. Occupy OKC protesters are voluntarily complying with city orders to vacate Kerr Park.

This all happened just one day after a federal judge upheld the city's right to enforce its own curfew laws.

12/12/2011 Related Story: Judge Denies Occupy OKC's Request To Camp In Park

Late Tuesday, a village of tents were being packed up in downtown Oklahoma City. After two months of chanting and a federal court battle, the park looks a lot different.

"We're not happy," said protester Matthew Hamlet. "This might look like a little tear down, but it's going to be so much bigger."

Hamlet says people haven't seen the last of Occupy OKC. Members say they will regroup and protest elsewhere. For now, they don't know where that will be, but they do know it won't be at Kerr Park.

City representatives were on hand to monitor the tear-down of camp OKC, hoping all protesters will be out ASAP and especially before the clock strikes 11 p.m.

"We are hopeful that they will voluntarily comply with our wishes," said M.T. Berry, Oklahoma City assistant city manager.

Now, with the federal court on the Oklahoma City's side, Berry says the city may force out anyone who does not comply or wait until the city and group reach an ‘impasse.'

"Until we reach an impasse with them which would require us to take a different course of action then we will continue this course," Berry said.

No matter the course, a good number of downtown workers hope the city's wishes are fulfilled.

"It's great that they were protesting, it's bad it was outside my law office," downtown employee Thomas Hosty said.

The sight of tents being torn down put a smile on Hosty's face.

"I'm happy they're going because it just was awkward with clients coming and having to go through that," Hosty said.

After months of back and forth and two trips to federal court, the city says it does not regret the choice to not enforce its curfew law from the very beginning.

In the end, not one person was pepper sprayed or tackled by police, which has happened in other Occupy protests in cities throughout the United States. Oklahoma City says it has cost taxpayers more than $50,000 to keep protesters safe during their time at Kerr Park.