Occupy Cedar Valley takes indefinite protest to University Avenue
CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -
You may have seen their tents set up at Overman Park in Cedar Falls. Friday night, Occupy Cedar Valley took their message to the busy corner of University Avenue and Main Street. Occupy Cedar Valley held a candlelight vigil to "Mourn the victims of corporate greed."
"The victims are numerous, and there are many of us. And that's what makes up the 99%," said Chris Schwartz, one organizer of the OCV movement.
But the commotion they made Friday night is very different from what one would see at any given time at their base camp in Overman Park. A handful of protesters sign up to "occupy" a small group of tents each night.
"It's a strong symbol that we rally behind. Occupations are the symbol of the movement," said Schwartz.
The Cedar Falls Police Chief has given the group permission to stay in Overman Park indefinitely, and the mayor is supporting the right to protest on public ground.
"An American right to protest and express your opinion. as long as you're not hurting or causing disruption and so on, which they haven't been," said Mayor Jon Crews.
But as the OCV movement rolls into week three, the question comes up -- how long will the circle of tents occupy the park?
"Do you expect them to be here come December?" we asked Crews. "Probably not, I would think not. They're not a very large group," he said.
Turns out, the protesters are planning to stick it out, no matter how low the temperatures drop.
"We've formed a winter committee, because our plan is to stay throughout the winter," said Schwartz.
So what will it take for the protesters to tear down their tents, and call their occupation, mission accomplished?
"It's going to take an economy that provides good jobs so that people have the dignity to work, it's going to take a health care system that provides health care to all of us. Ending wars that are based on profit and greed, a secure retirement for our seniors. There's a lot of work, and it's just the start of this. I have no idea how long it's going to take," said Schwartz.
"It sounds like, what you're asking for, it could take years?" we asked. "We're trying to change the world," Schwartz responded.
The movement has set up a bank account for donations, and also created a list of items they need for their campsite. Those include board games, a folding table, and appropriately, a soap box.
City leaders are expecting to meet with occupiers next week to discuss their long-term plans. Crews suggested the group might move the base camp to a different location, for example, on the University of Northern Iowa campus. However, Schwartz said OCV plans to stay at Overman Park for the duration of their occupation.
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