Asheville NC – It might have been Valentines Day but the City of Asheville still voted to break up with Occupy Asheville by passing a series of proposed ordinances that expand city park boundaries (6-1 vote) to the land used by the 24/7 occupation as well as making camping unlawful within the city limits (5-2 vote). In addition to evicting Occupy Asheville, the new regulations effectively criminalize people without a home who cannot find suitable indoor shelter and camp out doors within the city. The regulations are scheduled to go into effect on Friday at noon.
“The City of Asheville has been looking for a way to send Occupy Asheville packing since the beginning,” explained Lindsey Miguelez, member of Occupy Asheville’s social justice working group. “The decision by the City to remove us came as no surprise.”
Since October 1, 2011 Occupy Asheville has maintained a series of 24/7 free speech pickets that have become a focal point for community organizing and solidarity with one another and the worldwide Occupy Wall Street movement to oppose mass injustice and the crisis of corporate greed and personal profiteering within Wall Street and the federal government. While Occupy occupations in other cities have been systematically eliminated by regulatory or police action, Occupy Asheville has persevered through the winter until today’s vote.
“The only people who benefit by the removal of Occupy Asheville are the corporations who continue to profiteer off our local community and the politicians who shill for them,” explained Occupy media working group member Naomi Archer. “Our public servants just gave a favor to the wealthiest 1%.”
Occupy Asheville believes all people have the natural rights to freedom of speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government with their grievances. The actions taken today by the Asheville City Council cynically abridge these human rights and are an illegitimate use of governmental power against the people. We reject this use of power.
We continue to assert our rights as free-thinking people to speak and assemble freely in the time, place, and manner of our choosing and that benefits the health and welfare of all people. We will occupy. Expect us.