Police and the organizers of Occupy Charleston said Tuesday they are working closely together to create a trouble-free 99-hour event at Brittlebank Park.
Occupy Charleston, which begins at noon today, aims to put a local spotlight on the concerns of Wall Street protesters.
--No alcohol or illegal drugs--No motorized vehicles except in designated parking areas--No excessively loud TV, radio or amplified music--Amplified music banned after 11 p.m.--No fireworks, firearms or explosive devices--No littering. All litter must be removed.--No metal detecting or digging.--All participants must leave by 3 p.m. Sunday.If you goWhat: Occupy CharlestonWhen: Noon today to 3 p.m. SundayWhere: Brittlebank ParkWeb: www.occupycharleston.org
"Based on meetings with them, we believe that our goals and their goals are consistent. At this point, we certainly look forward to working with these individuals," Police Chief Greg Mullen said.
Mullen declined to discuss specifics of how police will manage the event.
"What we want to do is create an atmosphere to express views in a lawful and peaceful manner. We feel like we have a very good plan put together," he said.
Occupy Charleston participants held a peaceful march on Saturday.
"They were orderly. They followed all the rules. They did not disrupt anything," he said.
Organizers said they plan off-site marches of fewer than 50 people to banks and to City Hall. That activity is allowed if protesters are not disruptive, Mullen said.
A police presence at Occupy Charleston is welcome at all times, according to the organizers' city permit application. No alcohol will be served during the peaceful occupation. Illegal drugs will not be tolerated, the application said.
Amplified music will be banned after 11 p.m. A few small fires will be allowed under the supervision of the Charleston Fire Department, said Matt Rabon, an organizer for the event. "We have built an excellent working relationship with the police department," Rabon said.
Rabon said he expects a core group of about 50 activists at the park when Occupy Charleston starts at noon. He said he anticipates no more than 500 people to attend at one time during the 99 hours.
At some Occupy events in other cities, demonstrators have refused to leave. The Occupy Charleston permit for Brittlebank Park expires at 3 p.m. Sunday.
"We have every intention of leaving and cleaning up the park to pristine condition," Rabon said. He qualified his remarks by saying that the organized group will be out of the park as required on Sunday.
"We don't exactly control everyone involved in this," he said. "There's a lot of different folks in this with a lot of ideas."
Rabon, 29, a political science student at the College of Charleston and part-time restaurant manager, said he became interested in forming Occupy Charleston when he saw what was happening at Occupy Wall Street.
"It was the New York Police Department brutality, particularly the video of the police officer spraying the pepper spray at random into that crowd," he said.
He said his main concern is getting big money out of politics.
Another organizer, Chris Inglese, said Occupy Charleston will have First Amendment discussion groups, a library and activities for kids.
It will be a peaceful event, Inglese said.
"There is no support for not complying with the regulations of the city of Charleston," he said.
Inglese said he is not politically motivated.
"I'm an American, and I don't affiliate with Democrats or Republicans," he said.
The city will allow camping during the occupation.
Lectures and live music will be offered. A classical quartet will play Beethoven, Rabon said.
The family-friendly event will include art, food, speakers discussions, workshop and general assemblies, organizers said.
Reach Prentiss Findlay at 937-5711.
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