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State to Olympia ‘occupiers’: Leave park by midnight

The Occupy Olympia encampment last week in Heritage Park.

OLYMPIA — Members of Occupy Olympia, who have be encamped in Heritage Park below the Capitol Building for about three months, must leave by midnight, a state agency said today.

Protesters have set up tents, signs and even a display of Christmas lights in the shape of their signature numeric designation “99%” in the park near Capitol Lake. Today the Department of Enteprise Services said the protesters must clear out by 12:01 a.m. Friday.

“The current activity at Heritage Park is no longer sustainable,” Turner said. “We also recognize that some individuals who have been staying at the park need assistance. We have contacted local non-profit organizations that provide that kind of help.”

Occupy Olympia protesters joined demonstrations against proposed budget cuts in the early days of the special session but stayed away after the first week.

At a press conference this morning, Gov. Chris Gregoire said the state had allowed protesters a chance to exercise their First Amendment rights, and unlike other states and cities “weh have not used tear gas or mace.”

But she declined to say whether the State Patrol, which showed restraint in evicting protesters from the Capitol rotunda on the first day of the special session, might resort to more forceful means if people stay beyond the deadlilne.

“Now it's time for them to go home,” Gregoire said, adding that when she looks out from the Governor's Mansion every night “I can't worry that these people are going to freeze to death.”

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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