That threat seems to not have materialized. As the majority of the dozen or so protesters who normally line the street have cleared out their things, police this morning strolled by the few people who remained asleep on the curb in sleeping bags. The city says the protest had become a public nuisance.
"It's like a date. We got stood up," said Bob, an affable protester with large glasses who has been sleeping on the street for two months, as he smoked a cigarette with a group in the park across from city hall. "We'll disperse and go our ways. But that's going to be difficult, we have people in wheelchairs, we have elderly. But now we just want to wait and see what happens there, it's of interest to us."
"They never once asked me what I wanted, what I was doing out on their lawn," chimed in a man who goes by the name Ninety-Nine. "Instead, they came out with brooms and swept around us... the only way to keep the concrete from taking your heat is to put some insulation below you, like cardboard, but then they say that's accumulating junk."
The city has been lightly tightening the screws on the protest in recent week, having police enforce sidewalk and public indecency laws and asking everyone to move so crews could power wash the sidewalk. Where members of the group will go now is unclear. Some will likely try to find beds in shelters, others will wait for space in Right 2 Dream 2, and others will take to merely sleeping on other streets.
"The police department hasn't been bad to us, but they have plans, and we have to comply with them because we're nonviolent. Calling us campers is erroneous, they pulled something out of a drawer and used it against us," says Bob. "But we'll do what the people want. We've been trying to influence the people, I don't know if we have or not."
UPDATE 4:40pm: There was one arrest this morning during the "efforts to clear abandoned property." Ninety-Nine (real name Terry Yancy) was arrested for "interfering with a police officer."
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