All in all, ten free speech occupiers of the Mayor Tom Johnson Free Speech Quadrant of Public Square were taken into police custody, presumably for violating the curfew in Public Square.
Last night, October 21, 2011, OccupyCleveland’s call for community support was answered, loud and clear. The protests’ permit to remain present in downtown Cleveland’s Public Square expired at 10 o’clock last night. The group remained adamant about staying in the square, with a small group prepared to be arrested. Around 9:30, a group of approximately 200 protestors remained in Public Square.
It was a remarkable event. The group encircled the group of protestors who were prepared to be arrested. As the group chanted their rally cries, another group could be heard in the distance. The Public Square group grew quiet as chants of, “We are the 99%” grew louder and yet another group of protestors marched into the Square. The crowd roared. They were a group calling themselves the Midwest Power Shift. They are a group of students from several states, here in Cleveland for an environmental conference at Cleveland State University. When their group joined the fray, the number of protestors doubled. #OccupyCleveland now numbered several hundred. The protestors encircling the few brave enough to be arrested and linked arms. #OccupyCleveland would stand their ground.
The police arrived with the SWAT team, numerous patrol cars and many paddy wagons. As the police approached the circle, the group chanted, “The police are the 99%, join us.” But, not surprisingly, the police were not interested. A representative for #OccupyCleveland approached the group of police officers. The police told him that anyone who was not on the sidewalk would be arrested. The circle reluctantly broke apart and moved back several feet. The police approached the pre-designated group willing to be arrested. The group of 10 free speech occupiers had locked arms, chanting, “We are peacefully protesting, we will not leave.” The others outside that group refused to step out of the park area and onto the sidewalk. Only after one of the protestors awaiting arrest shouted out to the group that they must move back to the sidewalk, did the group move.
The protestors did not resist and were peaceful. The police used restraint. One by one, the police led or carried each of the ten to one of several vans waiting to remove the protestors. As they did, the remainder of the group continued to chant. After all of the protestors who were willing to be arrested had been taken into custody, the occupiers marched to the Justice Center, chanting, singing and beating drums. They marched to the doors of the Justice Center, shouting, “Set them free!”
All in all, ten free speech occupiers of the Mayor Tom Johnson Free Speech Quadrant of Public Square were taken into police custody, presumably for violating the curfew in Public Square. Of the group, there are three females and seven males. They range in age from 19 to 46 years old. As of approximately 3 am, the ten had not been booked or processed. It has been reported that one of the ten has received a citation for a minor misdemeanor. It is not known whether they will be booked or if they will only be detained.
Last night’s demonstration is not the end of #OccupyCleveland. The vigil will continue at 9 am at the Northwest Corner of Public Square, the #OccupyCleveland site of occupation. It will continue to the Justice Center, to demand the release of #OccupyCleveland’s members. The vigil will continue to Huntington Park, the location of The Police Memorial. #OccupyCleveland will continue the occupation, though in a yet undecided location.