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Occupy Iowa City: Protesters agree to permit

BY AUDREY ROEN | OCTOBER 24, 2011 7:20 AM

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Occupy Iowa City demonstrators said they have agreed to sign a permit that would allow them to continue to legally occupy College Green Park.

Though some protesters had previously told The Daily Iowan they had reservations about obtaining a permit to continue protesting, others said they felt they should obtain a permit, because city officials have been cooperative with them.

"Nobody came here to fight with City Hall. [City officials are] being cooperative with us; we should be cooperative with them, because they're not really the enemy," outreach committee member Stephanie Hoffelt said on Sunday. "We didn't camp here because of an issue with the city; we camped here because we have issues with bigger fish."

City officials previously told protesters they would not need a permit to occupy College Green Park, because local rules allow for spontaneous demonstrations.

However, City Manager Tom Markus and Parks and Recreation Director Mike Moran told protesters the occupation was no longer deemed "spontaneous" last week and asked them to sign a permit that would allow them to occupy the park for four months.

Though Markus could not be reached for comment Sunday evening, he told the DI protesters would eventually need to obtain a permit.

"At some point, the spontaneous provision runs out," he said. "… I think that the average person would contend that after a certain period of time, it's time to move on to the next stage. The next stage would be a permit."

Though protesters initially disagreed on the matter — saying it would be pointless to abide by city laws if they were protesting against them — protesters said they decided to sign after much consideration.

"We had a long debate with the city manager and the director of parks," said UI sophomore William Kresse. "We met with them many times, and we discussed in great detail, and that was passed, we will get a permit."

Protesters said city officials will deliver the permit to College Green at 9 a.m. today to be signed by participants.

Once the permit has been signed, protesters said, it is undetermined how the protest will proceed.

"Basically, we now just need to figure out what that permit will allow us to do, what constraints the permit might put on us, if any," Kresse said. "The city said that we will be able to renew the permit as long as we decide to stay here. I think some of the fear is that at some point they will try to use the permit to kick us out."

DI reporter Matt Starns contributed to this report.


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