Occupy OKC Protesters Head To Court To Fight City's New Deadline

Tuesday, November 29th 2011, 6:08 pm
By: News 9

There is now a new deadline and the Occupy OKC movement appears to be headed to federal court. Occupy protestors defied the city Monday night, and refused to leave Kerr Park despite an order to do so by 11 p.m.

Yet, police didn't make any arrests. But instead, they met with the group's leaders Tuesday morning in hopes of coming up with a compromise.

"We've given them plenty of time and allowed them to use that park. We'll still allow them to use the park during the daytime," Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty said.

But it's the hours between 11 o'clock at night, and 5 o'clock in the morning that are in question. The city argues there's now a safety issue and the park has become a mess.

"They're saying we can't act like reasonable people and that if somebody makes a mistake and knocks a trash can over, we shouldn't be allowed an opportunity to pick that up without losing our first amendment rights," protester Mary Faulk said.

While the group prepares its legal fight in federal court, the city has agreed to extend the eviction deadline until Thursday at 11 o'clock. At that time, protestors can leave on their own or be arrested.

"First amendment rights are more important than any city ordinance," protester Beth Isbell said.

Besides the police department, upset protesters also occupied city hall Tuesday morning, asking city leaders to step in and not force them out.

"You've supported almost a billion dollars on maps 3, but you will not support the only true way to build a community, through its people," Isbell said.

"We're caught in a difficult position of protecting free speech, but also protecting people from themselves," Mayor Mick Cornett said.

City leaders said they've had a peaceful relationship with the demonstrators up until this point, and just hope it can stay that way.

11/29/2011 Related Story: Oklahoma City Officials Give Deadline To Occupy Group