Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Occupy Detroit Being Kicked Out of the Park?

I posted last month about how the rest of the country could learn a few things about the way in the Detroit Police Department and other law enforcement agencies in Michigan responded to the Occupy Detroit protests. Prior to today, they had consistently showed a remarkable amount of restraint and avoided the kind abuse that not only violated the Constitutional rights of the protesters and impugned the reputation of law enforcement officers everywhere, they simply added fuel to the protests themselves.

Now, however, I fear that I may have praised them too soon.

According to a note on the Occupy Detroit Facebook page, the City of Detroit has ordered that Grand Circus Park be closed beginning at 10 p.m. This park, of course, is the encampment for the Occupy Detroit protesters. It is also a location where other protesters have camped out over the years, without any harassment from the local authorities.

I fear that Detroit might be on the verge of repeating the tragic mistakes that Boston, New York, Oakland, and other major American cities have made in recent weeks. I hope that I'm wrong, but I fear that I am not.

I will post more on this situation as it develops.

Update @ 9:08 p.m. - In one of the most abrupt about faces in bureaucratic history, the City of Detroit has reversed itself within hours of issuing its order for the Occupy Detroit campers to leave Grand Circus Park. Instead, they have issued a formal permit that gives them explicit permission to camp in the park until November 14.

Occupy Detroit originally asked for permission to stay in the park until November 29. It is not clear if the protesters will leave on November 14 or not.

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