Arrested Occupy Group Had Permission to Demonstrate: Student

The group of seven was arrested Thursday night for unlawful assembly

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The group of seven was arrested Thursday night for unlawful assembly.

    An FIU student arrested Thursday at the West Miami-Dade campus for unlawful assembly said he and fellow demonstrators had permission to gather at the school.

        Derek Mustelier, a junior at the college, was released from a 12-hour incarceration and told NBC Miami that "it wasn't even really a demonstration," and that the group was only trying to hold a music concert for the two-year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake.
     
    "In the course of planning a music event, it didn't really enter my mind that I would be arrested. But that's what happens when you are challenging the status quo," said Mustelier.
     
    Mustelier said that the group of Occupy Miami and Occupy FIU demonstrators was about to announce that they were going to move, when about six campus officers began to make the arrests.
     
    "Each one just grabbed the closest person to them and they just kept saying, 'It is time to go guys.' There was no warning of 'if you don't leave, we are going to arrest you,'" said Mustelier.
     
    The student also told NBC Miami that the group got permission from the university ombudsman, who said the event would be allowed as long as teachers didn't complain. Mustelier believes that the administration overruled the ombudsman's decision when it heard the group was associated with the Occupy movement.
     
    "I have no doubt in my mind that that had everything to do with it," Mustelier said.
     
    The student also said that they held an event in the same location in November but that the police did not bother them.
       
    "This is not going to scare me away from protesting one bit. I have no problem coming back here if the situation warrants it," Mustelier said.
       
    The event drew a crowd of about 50 people.
     
    FIU spokeswoman Maydel Santana-Bravo said that the three students and four non-students were holding a protest without a permit and were arrested because they did not break it up when police asked them to.
     
    Occupy Miami said, however, that they were arrested "while legally engaging in free speech and peaceful assembly.” The leaderless movement said in posts that officers led away demonstrators in handcuffs without explaining what they were being arrested for.
     
    Mustelier said he looks forward to a student hearing so that he can explain the situation.