Occupy Fort Lauderdale Protesters Can Stay At City Hall Plaza

The matter will be heard again in court

Thursday, Nov 24, 2011  |  Updated 9:58 AM EDT
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Occupy protesters in Fort Lauderdale can stay at a plaza at City Hall overnight, at least temporarily. 

On Tuesday, the City of Fort Lauderdale passed a rule that would restrict access to the plaza outside city hall where members of the Occupy movement have set up camp, but group members said they won't be leaving.
In letter posted on Occupy Fort Lauderdale's website, the group said the city had requested it's removal from the plaza by 5 p.m. Wednesday, and that "some members had vowed they would peaceably resist and face arrest."
City spokesman Chaz Adams said Wednesday that there was no 5 p.m. deadline, though the city was instituting a rule that would keep the plaza closed from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Adams said the new rule was put in place due to "unhealthy, unsafe and unsanitary conditions," including a lack of restrooms, running water, electricity and security. Adams said protesters would be welcome to gather at the plaza the other 19 hours of the day.

During an emergency hearing on Wednesday, it was agreed the rules would not be put into effect until the issue can be heard by Judge John Bowman or 12 p.m. on Dec. 2, depending on what comes first, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

The newspaper quoted the Occupiers' attorney George Castrataro as saying the rules "curtail free speech."

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