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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Protesters have been occupying the space in front of Wilmington City Hall for a couple of days now. Unlike other occupy movements around the country that have gotten violent and even deadly, members of Occupy Wilmington say they are a friendly bunch who just want their voices heard.

Protesters say despite the construction crews, cold weather and protests against their protesting, they are here to stay until they see some change.

“People and even the construction workers have been really nice,” Occupy Wilmington member Ethan Johnson. “The movie set was really nice, but it’s not that comfortable sleeping on the sidewalks, but they won’t let us sleep on the lawn, so we’ll deal with it.”

Johnson is occupying Wilmington. He said a few rude gestures have been thrown at the Third Street camp, but they mostly get waves, honks and curious passersby like Janice Neil.

Neil said she’s not officially part of the movement, but it caught her attention on the sidewalk, and she agrees with the message. But the dedication… not so much.

“Now, I didn’t know they were sleeping here,” Neil said. “Well, I guess if that’s what they have to do, then they just have to do it. I wouldn’t sleep here. I would come and protest, but I wouldn’t do the sleeping part.”

When asked about the violence at other occupations, Johnson said those incidents are just hiccups that will be worked out.

“You can’t control everybody,” he said. “You can try and have guidelines like we do. We don’t allow alcohol; we don’t allow drugs. But you can’t really tell somebody, ‘No. You can’t come in here.'”

While a lot of people just ignore the encampment, Neil said it’s time people pay attention.

“We are poor people, and we are really struggling. Here you got all these people making all this money, and we need some help,” she said.

And to the common comment of “Go get a job,” Johnson says, “I got a job. This is what I choose to do on my days off.”

He works on a vineyard in Bladen County. Now he hopes the fruits of this labor will pay off.

Johnson also believes the Occupy movement has had an impact on the presidential race by turning debate discussions about debt into more about job creation.

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15 Comments on "Occupy Wilmington holds ground in front of City Hall"

2015 years 10 months ago

Somewhere a fry cook didn’t show up at work.

wade Griffis
2015 years 10 months ago

The fry cook not showing up for work was a good thing. We southerners have the highest rate in the country for heart attacks and strokes.

Love that fried chicken, though.

2015 years 10 months ago

Please skip the meaningless rhetoric and tell us how the banks and Wall Street have screwed you over. We’re dying to hear!

2015 years 10 months ago

I’m glad that they are allowed to stay and occupy. They are expressing their frustration with what has and is happening in America. Maybe as a result there will be less apathy and hopelessness among our fellow citizens. We can no longer trust our government to keep the banks & wall street from screwing us over. The lobbyists line the pockets of our reps in congress to pass or veto bills. We only have the power of our votes…and we could get a lot done if more of us would vote.

Maybe Occupy will get people thinking about these these things. I know this recession has impacted almost everyone. Now is not the time to give up, it’s time to do something different. Sitting back and trusting that government works for us…well we can see how that went. We need to keep up with what they are doing. Watch CNN, read political news, or watch c-span. If you don’t like what your rep in Congress is doing write a letter or email and let him/her know. We can always replace them when they are up for reelection. We can’t line their pockets but we can kick them out.

America has one BIG problem that makes us weak…very few of us actually bother to vote. That needs to change if we want to turn this mess around. If we would all vote we would have the numbers to have some real change.

Truth Police
2015 years 10 months ago

Matt P….. Congrats you win the idiot of the week award! You arguments are all typical 99% banter with no substance…. First get a job then we can talk!

2015 years 10 months ago

Ok, now your damn protests are affecting us all. If Occupy NYC tries to shutdown Wall Street rather then follow the true democratic process I think these Occupiers should be held accountable for the repricussions. Your group has placed a viel over all of Wall Street because of Big Banks and Corporations. Do you know there are some of us out there who DO NOT work for these companies but are directly affected by what adverse things will come of your pointless protests?

I agree with some of your messages but your methodology is not going to work. Squatting in parks, assaulting people in luxury cars, rioting? What do you even stand for? Your protests are sucking the life out of public safety resources and that is not fair to ME the tax payer. I am not in the 1% and you are not in the 99%! You are comprised of a group of people upset about wrong doing but you are doing the same things yourselves! You are speak for “us” and you are hurting “us”.

Please, for the sake of the country, READ the LAWS of the United States of America and the respective states in the Country. Find ways to deal with the judicial process and ways to work from within the way the democratic process was designed. There are plenty of lawyers out there who will help your LEGITIMATE causes (not the open ended claims with no substance and lacking merit – such as “things must change”; “they must listen…” blah blah blah).

You are not helping the working man and woman. You are hurting us. You are NOT the 99% and you are NOT me.

Matt P
2015 years 10 months ago

To Ding Dong. You just showed YOUR great intelligence be just insulting someone for their opinions. I have had a job, full time, the current one for the last 16 years. I have worked steadily since I was 14. The overwhelming majority of the Occupy Wilmington group has jobs. We go down to the protest site in shifts. What part of what I said has no substance? Do you as an individual have as much clout with the goverment as a major corp.? Do you feel that corps. have the same rights as American citizens? Can you afford a lobbyist? I can’t. Why don’t you try and refute ONE thing I said rather than just hurling insults with no substance? Oh yeah, I forgot, your too stupid too. Your right, Capt. stupid IS here, look in the mirror buddy.

Matt P
2015 years 10 months ago

Personally, I have not seen one person in a luxury car assualted on the streets of Wilmington. What happens in NYC I cannot speak too. I can tell you that we have an entire field manual that absolutly bans that sort of behavior. The Occupy Movement has gone out of it’s way to accept anyone into our encampments. That means we do indeed have some bad eggs. However, the great majority of people involved are not out throwing rocks or bottles, messing up public spaces (in fact we scrubbed City Hall down yesterday, it was full of YEARS of accumulated bird droppings and grime). Not one dollar of public resources has been expended in Wilmington on our behalf. Our encampment is cleaner now than when we got there, go and look. As to using “legal” means to address out grievences; what lawyer do you know will take on these battles for us Pro Bono? I have voted in every election I have been able to since my 18th birthday (a long time ago now) including all primaries. I am still 100% for getting out the vote. Occupy does not think that by camping out we are “fixing” anything. What we are doing is trying to bring focus to these problems, to “wake up” people to the fact that most of us are getting a raw deal. Almost all of us do indeed have jobs. I do, in fact I’m in management. Yet working 60 hours a week I can’t come close to making the money my father made in the 50s and 60s (adjusting of inflation of course) and most people are in the same boat. Why? Because our goverment is being run in order to feather the nests of a chosed few. I’m sick of it. I’ve tried voting. I’ve tried writing to my congressman. I’ve donated money to political parties. Things just get worse. Street protests for me are the last resort but it has indeed come to that and if that is what it takes to get a REAL dialouge going then so be it. And judging from the attention and response to this movement it is indeed working. People are waking up.

Matt P
2015 years 10 months ago

Believe me, we are not being controlled by “fat cat” bankers. Most of us have full time jobs. We work the protest site in shifts when we are not working. If what you say is true about some sort of “backing” otherwise it would have fizzled out, well, what fat cat backed the Civil Rights movement? That did not fizzle out in a few months. This “get a job” nonsense is just that, nonsense. We have jobs. We are NOT looking for a handout or free money. We are looking to end the unfair influence of special interests on our goverment that is making it harder and harder for the little guy to stay afloat, let alone get ahead. Find out the facts before you throw stones.

2015 years 10 months ago

How are these people able to hang out for weeks and protest? I must be the 1% that they are not?
I am not able to hardly take a lunch! Much less take days off at the time! Give me some knowledge to how you folks are able to stay there with no seen source of income.

If I am wrong about what I am requesting please let me know. Or maybe you guys have incredible investment portfolios? Or perhaps your parents or grandparents or someone who invested their income did? Some group that is attached to the Fatcat bankers is connected somehow to your protest or this would have fizzled out by now! You guys are being taken advantage of and you don’t even see it! So Sad.

Wade griffis
2015 years 10 months ago

I am not sure what they are protesting. I am not even sure THEy know what they are protesting. Never mind. I say leave them alone. They are a peaceful bunch. When I walk down that sidewalk, I have no trouble getting by.

Peaceful protest is part of our heritage. We all know that our government is screwed up. Congress is the problem. They spend so much time pandering to the right wing or the left wing- that they do not take care of the nation’s business.

A pox on them all!

Matt P
2015 years 10 months ago

Actually, as a member of the Occupy Wilmington group I can assure you we do know what we are protesting. We are upset at the fact that certain monied interests have taken over our goverment. Ask yourself, who has more clout with congress right now, you or Exxon? Now tell me where in the US Constitution it says that a large corperation should have more say in our goverment then the American people themselves. We are upset that there has been no real investigation of Wall Street after the financial meltdown of 2008 which is still keeping millions of Americans on the unemployment lines. We are upset that the lobbyists of large industry are more and more writing our environmental laws with no regard to science. Basically, we are fed up with US policy being dictated by a small cadre of people who have the wealth to buy influence at the expense of the rest of us. And what American can say he thinks those above things are fine I’d like to know.

John Henry
2015 years 10 months ago

talk about violins in the street>? is this the same Wilmington City Hall where… Wilmington council considers $1.2M for bonuses, employee party….

2015 years 10 months ago

“We are poor people, and we are really struggling. Here you got all these people making all this money, and we need some help,” she said.”

I give my money to the charities I choose to. If you’re poor, it is neither my responsibility nor the government’s to make your life wonderful.

That is YOUR job. Go out and DO SOMETHING with your life, and stop depending on the kindness of strangers, Blanche!

2015 years 10 months ago

If someone was really interested in protesting…Election Day was a week ago. Too bad you didn’t have an opinion then.


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