Occupy Wilmington gives up protest spot for now


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Occupy Wilmington has gone from street protests to camping for their cause, but the group now says it has hit a speedbump. The protestors have been asked to leave their position near City Hall, and for the most part they have done so.

A few days ago members of Occupy Wilmington received a handwritten note from the wilmington police. The note told the group they can no longer have tents or sleep outside City Hall unless they are sitting upright.

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“What it was is the police wanted to scare us a little bit and get the protestors shaky about the protest,” said Occupy Wilmington member Jerome Whitley.

Occupy Wilmington members say sleeping there without a tent is a safety hazard, so they will no longer stay there.

“To me that’s a bit of a safety concern,” Occupy Wilmington member Mary-Kate Crum said. “I don’t want to be just sleeping on the streets without a tent. I also don’t want any kids sleeping out there without a tent so that’s kind of why we had cleared out.”

Although they are still allowed to stand and protest near City Hall, for the most part the group has left that spot. Protestors say they are trying to get a few new ideas. They made it very clear, though, that they are not giving up.

“We’re revisiting how we need to operate in Wilmington,” Crum said. “I mean, a lot of the other occupations are a bit more showy and loud, and I’m totally down with that. I stand in solidarity with it, but we also need to keep in mind that we’re in Wilmington. This is the South. We want to be nice.”

Some of the Occupy members question the legality and the credibility of the handwritten note from police, but they say they are picking and choosing their battles.

The group says it is still holding weekly information meetings, but it does not know where the next protest will be.

“It is frustrating but we’re thinking about getting a base set where we can hail all our tents and we can go from there,” said Whitley.

Members also say they are trying to do more community outreach instead of those protests.

The group wanted River Front Park December 4 for one of it meetings but the city turned down the request because in conflicted with the Wilmington Christmas Parade.