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Occupy Bloomington protesters asked to leave Peoples Park

POSTED AT 07:47 PM ON Jan. 4, 2012  (UPDATED AT 01:49 PM ON Jan. 5, 2012)

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At noon Thursday, Occupy Bloomington protesters remained in Peoples Park without incident.

Only six tents remained standing, with a few people taking them down and placing them in piles at the back of the park.



Less than 18 hours earlier, Bloomington Police Department officers

pinned eviction notices on posts around Peoples Park informing the

occupiers that camping there is in violation of the Bloomington

municipal code, and the protestors’ belongings must be removed.



Protesters had been living in the park since Oct. 9, 89 days before the eviction.
“We’re the longest running occupation,” said Logan Flores, an Ivy Tech Community College student.

An hour before the park was to be evicted, Flores stood with other protesters, wearing a sign that said, “Where will they go?”



The biggest concern for most occupiers was not the group’s next step.

Instead, many questioned where Bloomington’s homeless, who came to know

Peoples Park as a safe space, would stay for the rest of the winter.

“The

homeless are victimized,” said CW Poole, a self-identified occupier.

“They’re kicked out of the shelters and have no place to go in the

middle of winter.”



After receiving the notice, protesters convened at City Hall to

voice their opinions before nine members of the Bloomington City

Council. Protesters in attendance then met in the lobby following the

meeting to discuss their next action.



One protester told the group about a board at the park where people

could write down their concerns. By the time of the City Council

meeting, only two had been mentioned: where would the homeless members’

dogs go and what would they do with the military tent.



At 11 a.m. Thursday, the military tent was nowhere in sight, removed by a

group of people eight hours earlier after a dance party inside the

50-foot-long structure. While most of the tents and belongings had been

removed by noon, protesters spent the last hour making signs, playing

music and waiting for the inevitable — their departure from the park.



But not all protesters thought leaving the park would hurt their cause.

Sophomore Peter Oren, a member of Occupy IU, said while some Occupy

Bloomington’s members did create working groups to protest outside of

Peoples Park, the group’s reliance on occupying the space gave them a

bad image.



“The point of occupying is it’s a tactic to draw attention to the

issue,” said sophomore Nick Greven, also a member of Occupy IU. “I’ve

already heard people talking about having ‘General Assembly’ elsewhere.”

Greven said he agreed with Oren that it was time to move on with other ways to spread the message.



“It’s forcing us to evolve,” Oren said.

— Bailey Loosemore

 

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