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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Settling in at Reutter Park

Occupy Lansing is back to camping overnight in the downtown park

by Sam Inglot

Wednesday, June 27 — If the cops don’t kick you out of the park after four days and nights, why not move in?

With five tents in tow, that is exactly what Occupy Lansing did as of Tuesday evening.

From Saturday to Monday night, the small band of protestors sat next to a single blue tent and waited for the police to come and make arrests for refusing to leave the park. Instead, police just wrote two members of the group eight citations. Read more here.

By Tuesday night no arrests had been made and the group saw that as a sign of victory and pitched four more tents for overnight occupations. Two more citations were written later in the night.

“It’s been one of the best days we’ve had in a long time,” said occupier Chris LaMere, referring to the amount of support they’ve received from people in the area. “We’re settling in.”

At this point, three of the tents remain empty. The tents are more of a “statement” to their dedication than anything else right now, said Raphael Adley, a protestor with the group.

Since returning to public appearances in the spring, the small band of Occupy Lansing protestors have attempted to reoccupy the park. They believe that their presence in the park will bolster their numbers and raise public awareness to the issues that gave rise to the Occupy movement.

Linda Zarebski and Adley are the two Occupy Lansing members who received the two most recent citations. They are the only two members who have camped in the park overnight. Combined, they have 14 tickets, which individually carry a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

The group’s lawyer, Steven Howard, said the group is pleading not guilty to the charges and is requesting a trial by jury. Whether the city will bulk all of the citations into one case is still up in the air.

The case is matter of fact, not law, Howard said: The group was given permission by Mayor Virg Bernero to occupy the park last fall.

Bernero has said he supports the movement but can no longer endorse the group staying in the park because of costs to the city.

“The fact is they were given permission and they relied on those promises,” Howard said. “He changed his mind and violated that promise like he does dang near every promise he makes.”

An arraignment for Adley’s June 9 citation is scheduled for tomorrow morning.

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