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Protesters ordered to be less ‘permanent’

Sat., Oct. 1, 2011

Tents, affixed signs removed as shelter ordinance enforced

Occupy Spokane, the 2-day-old action in solidarity with the 2-week-old Occupy Wall Street protest against economic injustice, was visited Friday morning by police enforcing a city ordinance.

About a dozen protesters who have occupied the grassy median at the intersection of Riverside Avenue and Monroe Street in downtown Spokane were told to remove tents and other “permanent” elements of the protest that violate the city’s transient shelter ordinance, said Capt. Frank Scalise, patrol division commander of the Spokane Police Department.

Unlike the Wall Street protest, in which participants complained of injuries from police excesses, there was little confrontation between Spokane police and protesters.

“The atmosphere is compliant and collegial,” Scalise said. “Nobody is being confrontational.”

Dave Bilsland, a perennial Spokane homeless activist and organizer of Occupy Spokane, said the tents in which some participants slept for two nights were part of the protest against disproportionate corporate control of the nation’s politics and wealth.

“These are symbolic of where everybody is going to end up if things don’t change,” Bilsland said.

Nevertheless, the tents came down, as well as tables, chairs and placards attached to trees or road signs. The protesters remained.

Participants cited a range of issues confronting the nation, including corporate greed, unemployment, crisis in the housing market, lack of economic opportunity and economic inequality.

“The one thing we all have in common is that we are the 99 % that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 %,” according to, the website of the national movement.

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