Police ticket Occupy Lincoln demonstrators

By:  Melina Matthes

Two Occupy Lincoln demonstrators have been ticketed within the last 24 hours.  Police say one for interfering, and the other for failing to comply. 

The confrontations came while Lincoln police were making one final sweep at Centennial Mall early Wednesday morning.  One of the demonstrators says he was getting ready to leave when he was taken into custody.

After 8 months, all the tents have been cleared away and the protestors are no where to be seen.  Lincoln Mayor Beutler says the City of Lincoln has treated the group as well or better than any occupy movement in the entire country and he asks them to continue to fight for their beliefs just not in any public spaces.

Just after 4 a.m. Wednesday, 45 officers, several K–9 units, and a police helicopter surrounded Centennial Mall to remove the remaining members of Occupy Lincoln. Police say three individuals remained on the mall.

Police say two left when asked and a third, 22-year-old Jeffrey Eggerss refused and was consequently arrested.

“We were under the impression that it was just the property that was of concern, there is no curfew on Centennial Mall at present and that people are allowed to be there…we were on the sidewalks and we were/I was planning on leaving when they arrived…so I feel as though it was a violation of my rights,” said Jeffrey Eggerss.

A few hours later, just outside the County/City building one lone protestor stands his ground as the mayor proposes ordinances that will address future occupation of public space.  These proposed laws were established after the second camp,  which was near 30th and Capitol Parkway, was quickly shut down.

Dana Garrison says the city told them they could be there. 

“We were free to set up a second camp…they were quoted saying that we broke 11 ordinances with our second camp yet in this press conference he clearly stated that there was a gap in the law that there was nothing they could do about tents in public spaces, yet they still issue us an eviction notice for that camp.”

Mayor Beutler says he respects people's rights to speak out, but he says our laws need updating.  Next week several proposals will be introduced to the City Council to provide more appropriate venues for free speech in Lincoln. 

The Occupy Lincoln movement says they're not giving up.  They have now turned to social media as their platform using the web and Facebook to make their voices heard.