June 23, 2018
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City won’t allow Occupy Bangor to camp overnight

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
Earl Boyd, 65, of Canaan (right) was among the 60 people who participated in the Occupy Bangor demonstration in the front of the Bank of America building Oct. 12. The group is planning a series of events Saturday in Bangor starting with a rally at noon at Peirce Park on Harlow Street.
By Ryan McLaughlin, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Occupy Bangor is planning a series of events Saturday in Bangor starting with a rally at noon at Peirce Park on Harlow Street, but the city said it won’t allow the group’s members to camp out in the park after hours.

“The City has an interest in maintaining our parks for the use and enjoyment of all our citizens and visitors,” City Manager Catherine Conlow said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “All those who wish to visit our parks must abide by the rules for their use, just as they must observe other laws designed to protect public property and preserve the peace.”

Like the national Occupy movement, Occupy Bangor is organized around the theme of “finding common ground” within the 99 percent of citizens it says are disenfranchised by the political process.

After the rally at Peirce Park, a march through downtown Bangor is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Working groups will gather at 3 p.m. before a general assembly forms at 4, Occupy Bangor said in a press release.

“Occupy Bangor, in the spirit of Occupy Wall Street, is outraged over the ever-widening gap between rich and poor in America, as well as corporate control of the political process,” the press release said. “The number of occupations is growing rapidly throughout the country and around the world. There are currently over 900 occupied cities in the United States, and more than 2,200 worldwide.”

In its own press release issued Thursday, the city said it was approached Oct. 21 “by representatives of Occupy Bangor about staging an occupation at Peirce Park, located adjacent to the Library on Harlow Street. As part of this protest, Occupy Bangor has indicated that some participants may choose to camp at Peirce Park.”

The release added, “a careful review of the current ordinances related to the use of City Parks clearly indicates that park hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Sunday, and that camping is prohibited in city parks. For that reason, we have asked that the protesters respect the ordinances of the City of Bangor and only occupy Peirce Park only between the hours of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.”

The release said “it is the responsibility of the City to represent the interests of our residents and visitors fairly, and without bias. That is best accomplished when everyone is required to adhere to the same laws and codes.”

The city urged those involved in the Occupy Bangor protest “to work within and respect Bangor’s local laws and ordinances, as other organizations have done and continue to do when exercising their right to assemble in protest.”

Occupy Maine has been encamped in Lincoln Park in Portland since Sept. 30, and Occupy Augusta has been encamped in Capitol Park there since Oct. 15, the Occupy Bangor press release said.

Demonstrators in Portland say Thursday they are undeterred by colder weather and a forecast of light snow.

The number of tents in Lincoln Park has grown to 40, and media team coordinator Denny Junkins says the group is getting prepared for colder weather. The first snow was expected Thursday night, but it was only expected to amount to a dusting.

He said Thursday that the group was cold but not “freezing to death.”

Junkins says the group has no plans to leave. He says they have received donations of warm clothes, and hope to get some heaters in the coming days.

Sunny Hughes, a spokeswoman for Occupy Bangor, said she doesn’t have an estimate of how many people might attend Saturday’s rally.

“If I had to guess, I would say more than 100,” she said.

A previous Occupy Bangor event outside Bank of America on Exchange Street drew about 60 people on Oct. 12.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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