Park Not As Occupied
Updated: Friday, July 12 2013, 03:48 PM EDT
Rochester, N.Y.—Halloween weekend, three dozen protesters were arrested at Washington Square Park, fighting to stay overnight. The group eventually reached an agreement with the City of Rochester that allows it to stay in the park overnight.
Four months later, the tents remain but few protesters are in the park around the clock.
13 WHAM’s Evan White visited each of the 14 tents erected as of Tuesday morning.
Five people responded, two of them discussed the movement’s status and park attendance.
“We still have fairly good attendance at times. The camp isn’t really the core of the movement. The general assemblies, protests and so on are the core of the movement,” said Ben Miller-Jacobson, an RIT student who said he’s been sleeping at the park for two months.
The Occupiers say their message against corporate greed and use of money to lobby for political power in the United States government remains, despite a drop in the number of those sleeping at Rochester’s downtown city park.
“It’s a little dead because it’s winter time, springtime is coming its going to be huge for us,” said an Occupier who would only identify himself as “Danny.”
Tents rest on wooden pallets in the encampment which takes up roughly one-third of the park. There is straw spread across the encampment's ground where dirt and grass are normally seen. No visible trash could be found outside of the tents.
“Obviously it’s had a negative impact on the use of the park. Not that it’s been unusual. Whenever you put tents and people above what is usually a grass area you are going to ruin it so we have to get it cleaned up so everybody can use it,” said Mayor Tom Richards.
There has been no hard deadline set by the city according to Mayor Richards, but he plans to meet with Occupy leaders soon and wants the encampment cleared by spring.