Tag Archives: eviction

Lone Protester Remains As Occupy Nashville Eviction Deadline Passes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A lone protester was still maintaining his vigil Friday at the Occupy Nashville camp on Legislative Plaza in the face of a new state law meant to evict the protesters.
Christopher Humphrey, 24, remained in a small tent covered in a blue tarp and several handwritten signs in front of the state Capitol. The state gave the protesters a seven-day notice on March 2 to remove their encampment, but it wasn’t clear when the Tennessee Highway Patrol would start enforcing the law.
The protesters started preparing for more arrests after midnight on Friday morning, but as of Friday afternoon, no move had been made to remove Humphrey’s tent or clean up the camping equipment that had been left on the plaza. There was also no police presence at the plaza, and it was mostly empty of protesters on Friday.
The Legislature last month passed a statute prohibiting camping on state property that is not specifically designated for it. Gov. Bill Haslam signed the bill into law.
Violators can face up to a year in jail or a fine of up to $2,500 or both. The main provision of the legislation would make it a misdemeanor to lay down “bedding for the purpose of sleeping” on government-owned land at the Capitol. It refers to items associated with camping, “including tents, portable toilets, sleeping bags, tarps, stakes, ropes, blankets, propane heaters, cooking equipment and generators.”
State troopers raided the encampment in late October and made 55 arrests, but Haslam ordered the charges dropped when Nashville courts refused to jail the protesters. The state backed down and decided not to fight a federal court order that found the raids had violated the First Amendment rights of the protesters.
Critics contend the new law passed last month will in effect criminalize homelessness. The protesters in Nashville have used the Legislative Plaza where lawmakers work to protest corporate influence in government and income inequality.

Occupy Nashville Gets Eviction Notice

The Haslam administration gave Occupy Nashville protesters seven days to clear out on Friday, renewing an effort to remove the group’s encampment at the Tennessee Capitol five months after it moved in last fall.
From Chas Sisk’s report:
Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill Friday morning banning unauthorized camping on public grounds, and administration officials moved immediately to put the law into effect, posting 120 signs at state buildings across Tennessee officially warning that campers could be prosecuted.
The administration said it would begin enforcing the new law, which punishes unauthorized camping with up to a $2,500 fine or nearly a year in jail, next week. The law applies to any state property, but it was passed in response to the winter-long encampment by Occupy Nashville protesters on War Memorial Plaza at the state Capitol.
“Although the legislation calls for an immediate prohibition of unauthorized camping on state property, we believe a seven day notification period, beginning today, is an appropriate time frame to make sure the word gets out,” General Services Commissioner Steve Cates said in a statement.

News release below.

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