Occupy NOLA Asking Court to Block Eviction

Dec 6, 2011

Occupy NOLA is asking a federal judge to block its eviction from Duncan Plaza. Protesters want a temporary restraining order and injunction that would allow them to stay.

Many of the tents outside City Hall are gone, but a few dozen remain as protesters object to Mayor Mitch Landrieu's call to clear out the overnight encampment. Spokesman Derrick Morrison said at a news conference in front of City Hall that Landrieu has no right to order them out, many of whom are homeless with no place to go.

"We say to the mayor that If you're concerned about homelessness, we're ready to work with you. If you're concerned about defending the First Amendment, we're ready to work with you.' "

The Occupy NOLA encampment began in October as a protest of corporate policies. A group spokesman says many of those remaining at the camp are homeless. Mayor Landrieu said Friday that the park would be cleared this week, and promised outreach to help the homeless. Morrison says that effort is falling short because there are not enough shelters available.

"We think that the mayor's a bit late, and we think that the mayor should resolve those problems of the homeless before he lays a finger on the camp.

On Friday, the mayor said a move would be made this week.

"We have in this city allowed those individuals to exercise their First Amendment rights of speech and assembly. But the First Amendment rights can be and should be limited in time and place and in manner."

Landrieu is advising protesters s to pack up all their items and leave immediately. He says anything left behind will be disposed of as sanitation crews clean the plaza. A spokesman was not available to comment on the pending court action.