Occupy Providence is back in Burnside Park. But there are a couple of things different about this incarnation of the local 99 Percent movement.
One difference is they aren’t camping this time around. Not yet, anyways. But they have been meeting daily in what activists call the People’s Park for a little over a week now.
And for another, they aren’t getting along as well with Providence police as they did the first time around.
“A police officer shoved me,” said Artemis Moonhawk, who was a strong presence with the first incarnation of Occupy Providence and who has been organizing events and meet-ups throughout the winter, spring and summer in anticipation of the second one.
She said seven activists met in the park Thursday and attached the iconic Occupy Providence banner to a fence. Officers asked them to take it down saying there is a new rule banning signs in Burnside Park. Instead they attached it to some chairs and another officer came by and was a little more aggressive with his request. Moonhawk said he was angry the banner was still up and that she was shoved when she got up to remove it.
“This is the first time we have ever had any problems with the Providence police,” she said. “This opened up a big can of worms.”
Police confiscated the banner, she said. But activists plan to get it back from police tomorrow. They’ve organized a march from Burnside Park to the police station to retrieve it. Police said they could have it back.
There will also be a sidewalk occupation in front of the former home of 38 Studios starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Activists plan to meet at Burnside and march to the office building on Empire Street. On Monday, there is a vigil in Roger Williams Memorial Park on South Main Street from noon to 6 p.m. and again on Tuesday from noon to 5.
Across the nation, Occupy groups have been rekindling their protest against corporate greed and income inequality. On September 17, Occupy Wall Street plans a large, sit-in in front of the New York Stock Exchange on the one-year anniversary of the first night of camping in Zuccotti Park.