More than 20 Occupy Cincinnati protesters were arrested last night just hours before a morning parade was scheduled to celebrate the life of local billionaire Carl Lindner, who died on Monday. The Enquirer's homepage this morning includes a lengthy account of the arrests and reactions by Occupy, along with a live feed covering the parade, which was to begin at Great American Ball Park and end near a Kenwood restaurant where Lindner enjoyed eating.
Lindner supporters gathered at various locations along the parade route, including dozens of Cincinnati Police standing outside District 1 around 9 a.m. Students stood outside a school on 9th Street singing songs about going to heaven. (Occupy Cincinnati representatives have not acknowledged the correlation.)
Meanwhile, protesters were still being processed and released from the Hamilton County Justice Center this morning after paying fines that reportedly ranged from $150 to $600. The arrests were peaceful, as protesters had been trained on how to peacefully interact with law enforcement, according to a spokeswoman.
Lt. Jay Johnstone told The Enquirer that the park was closed this morning because the city wants to clean it. Protesters say the movement will go on and that it will have its regularly scheduled meeting tonight.
Occupy Cincinnati released a statement in response to the arrests:
We are understandably upset that the city has decided to arrest some of our members. From the first day we gathered, we have been completely peaceful and as accommodating as we could possibly be. We have maintained an open and honest dialogue with the Cincinnati Police Department and other city officials throughout our occupation, and have praised their professionalism on many occasions. Just two days ago, Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig stated, “This is one of the more peaceful groups I’ve had an opportunity to meet with in a protest.”
We are a group of regular Cincinnatians who seek only to voice our political opinion by occupying a public space and discussing what our grievances are with our government. We aren’t a threat to anyone— we hold signs, we occasionally chant, we have marches, we hold rallies, we talk to each other and the public about our views, and we ask our government to listen to us and respond. And we are happy to share the park with others — it’s their park, too!
Yet for reasons unknown at this time, a decision has been made today to eject us from Piatt Park. During difficult economic times, our limited city and law enforcement resources are being used for THIS-- not to pursue murderers, rapists, large financial institutions who are unlawfully foreclosing on private citizens’ property, or corporations who commit fraud against their customers and the public in the name of bigger profits-- but to come after US. Whether that is a good use of our resources is an issue for voters to decide.
We aren’t hurting anyone, except maybe those who are threatened by our message that the richest 1% of our country are controlling our government and our financial system. So while we are upset by today’s developments, we’re not the slightest bit surprised.
In spite of the mounting physical, emotional and financial costs, we are not leaving, and we will not stop protesting the co-opting of our government by a privileged few. We believe the future of our nation and our city is worth it, and we encourage other Cincinnatians to see the truth and join the fight.
Some of Occupy Cincinnati’s members and supporters will have more to say tomorrow morning at 8am on the sidewalk next to Piatt Park. Please join us then to show your support and make your voice heard!