Nine participants in the Occupy Charleston movement banned from Marion Square can return to the park during the holidays while they are awaiting trial, Municipal Judge Joseph Mendelsohn decided Thursday.
Ten Occupy protesters were arrested about 1 a.m. Nov. 23 and charged with trespassing. The park curfew is 11 p.m. They are Allison Anderson, Ramon Caraballo, Richard Fowler, Noah Hilliard, Matthew Rabon, Adrianna Varedi, Tyreece Washington, Crystal Wernicke, Nathaniel Williams and Brandon Fish.
Williams entered a no-contest plea Tuesday morning in Municipal Court because he wanted to be free to travel out of state.
In addition, Justin Honea was arrested Nov. 22 and charged with illegally camping in the park.
Mendelsohn's decision on Thursday applied to every defendant but Fish, who has retained separate legal counsel. His attorney filed a motion on Thursday asking that Fish be allowed to visit the park until his trial.
After the ruling, none of the defendants present would comment.
In his order, Mendelsohn said allowing the protesters to go back to the park is appropriate because the cases have been continued until Jan. 3.
Mendelsohn's order states that Occupy Charleston members may go to the square anytime between dawn and 11 p.m. provided they don't congregate in the area of permitted events.
Meanwhile, trespassing charges against 19 Occupy Columbia protesters arrested on Statehouse grounds were dismissed Thursday. Prosecutors decided there was not enough evidence to prove all elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.