How Long will Protesters 'Occupy Fort Wayne'?

By Rachel Martin

October 16, 2011 Updated Oct 16, 2011 at 6:00 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – The General Assembly of Occupy Fort Wayne will hold a meeting at 7 p.m. to decide if they want to continue protesting. Fort Wayne Police have permitted protesters to stay at Headwaters Park until 11 p.m. Sunday. If protesters do not leave they could face citations and possibly be arrested.

A couple dozen people stuck it out in the cold and rain Saturday by spending the night in Headwaters Park as part of the Occupy Fort Wayne movement. On Sunday, the General Assembly of Occupy Fort Wayne made a statement to the press sharing their purpose and requesting a public place from city government to further exercise their First Amendment Right.

“I believe that we all should be comfortable protesting,” said Rachel Milner, protester. "I think that everyone across America should be comfortable standing up for their own voice and not be frightened that they're going to be told to be quiet."

Milner decided to participate in Occupy Fort Wayne to explore her values. She’s unhappy with the economy and believes inflation is the cruelest kind of taxation because it’s “hidden”.

“[Inflation] distorts prices and hinders our ability to work effectively as a market,” said Milner. “So I am attempting to understand what my principles should be, not just morally, but economically,” said Milner.

Joel Klinepeter is part of the Occupy Fort Wayne Communications Team. He said other movements have stayed and chosen civil disobedience, while other groups abided by the permit.

"We are working to get it extended, as we should have every right to do under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. If those recourses fail, that will be something determined by the people here at that time."

“I think we should work hard to be visible,” said David Greene. “And whether that means we have to stay here or go elsewhere we haven’t decided yet, but we have to work hard to be visible and have our voices heard.”

Greene is participating in the movement because he feels the government doesn't fairly represent "the people." He said it favors war, money, and business instead of valuing people.

“People have flesh and blood and emotions and consciousness and a limited life span. In order for the government to be truly a representation of the people, by the people, and for the people, then we need to limit how entities with no conscience and no life span participate in our political decision-making process,” said Greene.

"Whether you're liberal or conservative, your voice should be what matters in politics, not who has the most money,” Klinepeter said.

Each protester has their own reasons behind being part of the movement, but they understand that their differences are what bring them together.

"I believe people have the right to have an opinion and to be dissatisfied,” Milner said. “And we don't all have to agree on the same thing in order for all to understand that we are dissatisfied and that we all have opinions."

Greene said activism is how to bring about change, and as long Occupy is moving forward and making a difference, he will continue to protest.

“Thomas Jefferson said that it is our right and responsibility to protect our nation from threats both internal and external,” said Greene. “The corporate personhood and our loss of voice in our governance is an internal threat and we as citizens need to stand up and take back our country. Nobody’s going to give it back to us, we have to do something about it.”




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