Wednesday, November 23, 2011

HuffPost 'Occupies' Y'all Street

Posted By on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 at 4:10 PM

Two weeks ago, Huffington Post reporters Jason Cherkis and Sara Kenigsberg were in Charlotte talking to the Occupy group camped out at the Old City Hall on East Trade Street.

The two journalists were on the road reporting on smaller Occupy movements across the South for a series that begins today at the HuffPost website. Cherkis was writing the story. Kenigsberg was capturing it all on film.

The duo's first installment is a piece on Occupy Gainesville, in Florida. Keep up with this series, because their dispatch from Charlotte will be coming soon.

Here's a little nugget from the story. It's on one of Occupy Gainesville's more famous members:

The camp is located in a plaza renamed after Bo Diddley. There is a stage with Diddley's iconic image painted on the wall, and a grassy quad. Occupy Gainesville took over the space in mid-October. On the second day, law enforcement authorities tried to enforce a curfew on the plaza. When that didn't clear out the camp, they told the demonstrators they could only sleep on the pavement.

The activists have spent a fair amount of time strategizing on how they can one day occupy the grass. For now, they have set up two tarp pavilions, some tables and a library and food area on the grass. A painted bed sheet marks their spot along with a number of American flags, and the sleeping bags on concrete.

Ellas Anthony McDaniel, Diddley's son, showed up on the Occupation's second night. He said he was just curious about what these activists were doing on land named for his father. He ended up getting arrested.

Gainesville cops tried to enforce the curfew while McDaniel was there. An officer had to drag him off what's called the "speaker's stand," a slab in the park inscribed with the First Amendment.

McDaniel told HuffPost he didn't think the First Amendment had a curfew.

"I didn't come to the Bo Diddley Plaza to commit a crime," he says.

McDaniel is now an Occupy member and a regular at the general assemblies.

Read the whole story and watch the video here.

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