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Occupy Miami Begins Occupation At Government Center

On a day when millions across the globe took to the streets in protest against corporate corruption, more than a thousand people converged in Miami, marching from the Torch of Friendship to Government Center where dozens of activists set up tents, vowing to camp out indefinitely in solidarity with the ever-increasing Occupy Wall Street movement.

Now the question is, how long will police allow the Occupy Miami activists to camp out in an area that is clearly marked “No Trespassing Sunset to Sunrise Daily”?

Above: Moments after the first tent went up. The Miami Police Department can be seen in the background.

As of Sunday, more than 20 tents had been set up, each containing two to four activists.

“Right now, I think the cops are undecided about what to do about us,” said Mo Tarafa, one of the activists camping out.

Although their campsite is catty corner from the Miami Police Department, the property falls under the jurisdiction of the Miami-Dade Police Department, which means it’s up to the county to evict them.

The handful of city and county cops that overlooked the demonstration on Saturday seemed cordial enough. One of them even gave a protester a bottle of water.

But that attitude can quickly change if they get orders from the top to shut the camp down as police departments around the country have been doing, arresting activists in Chicago, Phoenix, San Diego and other cities.

However, the activists in other cities end up finding other locations to occupy, leaving police and city officials with a dilemma on their hands because the more police power that is used to shut them down, the stronger the movement seems to get.

Last Friday, the New York City Police Department was on the verge of shutting down the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park, but the park’s owners changed their mind after receiving numerous calls from elected officials, not to mention the fact that three thousand protesters showed up to the park an hour before the planned eviction.

The Occupy Miami encampment could ultimately prove to be a test for Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who took the reigns of the county this summer after Carlos Alvarez was ousted in a recall election. Government Center, after all, is essentially county hall, the most powerful bureaucracy in Miami-Dade.

Most of the activists are in their 20s and have much support in their peer group, many who are university students and could easily turn their activism against Gimenez in the next election.

On Sunday, more than 100 activists toughed out the rain to attend another general assembly.

The word is that police might try to shut them down Sunday night to clear the area before the Monday morning work crowds come to Government Center.






Related Categories: Miami: Local News,

Carlos Miller is a featured writer at Miami Beach 411. He also operates Photography is Not a Crime, a blog about photographer rights, New Media and First Amendment issues.

See more articles by Carlos Miller.

See more articles by Carlos Miller

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