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OccupyMaine asks judge to dismiss lawsuit it filed against Portland

Pat Wellenbach | AP
Pat Wellenbach | AP
A few remaining tents and signs are seen before being dismantled at the OccupyMaine encampment in Lincoln Park in Portland on Monday, Feb. 6, 2012.

PORTLAND, Maine — OccupyMaine has asked that the lawsuit it filed against the city over the group’s continued occupation of Lincoln Park be dismissed.

“We believe the energy and resources required to continue litigation would be of better use in service to the community,” OccupyMaine said in a press release issued Monday afternoon by its attorney, John Branson of Portland.

What form that service might take was not outlined in the press release.

Portland City Hall was closed Monday because of the Presidents’ Day holiday.

The group in December sued the city in Cumberland County Superior Court after Portland officials ordered protesters to remove their encampment from Lincoln Park. Members of OccupyMaine set up a tent city there in October as part of the national Occupy Wall Street movement.

On Feb. 1, Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren ruled that the protesters had failed to meet the city’s requirements for health and safety but had a constitutional right to demonstrate in the park. He also said that giving them the right to occupy the park for an extended period would conflict with others’ right to use it, according to previously published reports.

The group could have appealed Warren’s decision to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

OccupyMaine will hold a rally at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Monument Square in honor of George Washington.

“On this grand occasion of Presidents’ Day — which has been [hijacked] by corporate America for commercial and promotional purposes — OccupyMaine does hereby resolve to continue the work of reminding one another and the public at large that we are citizens first and foremost and that, as such, we have basic rights and obligations,” OccupyMaine said in the press release. “Standing in solidarity together as citizens, we the people are the intrinsic masters of our government. Standing separately as individual consumers, we are but slaves to the corporatocracy.”

The group also announced Monday that it had established a new group called the Friends of Lincoln Park, which will meet from noon to 3 p.m. Sundays in Lincoln Park, when OccupyMaine holds its weekly general assemblies.

Evan McVeigh, 26, camped in Lincoln Park from Oct. 3 until the encampment was forced to disband on Feb. 6. McVeigh told the Bangor Daily News as he moved out of the park that he planned to move to a Cape Elizabeth farm with a friend and push for societal change by volunteering at soup kitchens and other community organizations. McVeigh said he and most others at the camp would rather regroup and promote their agenda in other ways than face arrest for refusing to leave the park.

Friends of Lincoln Park appears to have grown out of that sentiment.

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