Members of Occupy St. Louis met yesterday with Ann Chance, city Special Events Director, and Eddie Roth, Director of Public Safety. City officials offered a special event permit for “Freedom Park”, located between 15th, and 16th, Chestnut and Asphalt Walkway. The permit allows for 24-hour use of the park, would last until midnight Sunday, March 18th. It states 8 – 10 tents may be erected in the park for Occupiers to use, but sleeping is not allowed.
“The Occupy the Midwest General Assembly voted not to Occupy Freedom Park for several reasons,” says Chuck Witthaus of Occupy St. Louis. “First, we seek to Occupy public space in order to provide housing for conference participants, this permit does not meet our needs and is a limitation on our right to free speech and assembly. Second, we believe it is unfair for one individual to sign a permit, leaving them responsible for the actions of hundreds. Third, we do not trust the actions or motives of the city or the police after their brutal attack on non-violent Occupiers Thursday night.”
The 15 people arrested on Thursday night have been released on bond. Two Occupiers were brutally assaulted by police during the arrests, and were hospitalized for their injuries.
All witnesses of the arrests indicate the assault and weapons charges are false, and no police officers reported injuries of any kind.
“We condemn the St. Louis Police Department, Eddie Roth, Director of Public Safety, and Mayor Slay for directing police officers to violently attack peaceful demonstrators,” says William Smith of Occupy St. Louis. “The Occupy the Midwest Conference will continue as scheduled, with educational events and actions highlighting the plight of the 99%, seeking new solutions to the problems of corporate greed, income inequality, and our broken political system.”
The Occupy the Midwest Regional Conference will take place March 15th-18th in St. Louis, MO. The week of action has been endorsed by 18 Occupations, with participants converging to participate in actions, share skills, and form a network with which to coordinate regional and national demonstrations and campaigns.