Ten members of Occupy Charleston were ordered Wednesday to keep out of Marion Square after being arrested before dawn and charged with trespassing.
Muncipal Judge Joseph Mendelsohn told the group that as a condition of their release from county jail, they could not go back to the park until their trial on Nov. 29.
The 10 defendants appeared before Mendelsohn by video teleconference. Before the hearing, lawyer William Hamilton warned supporters in the courtroom to remain quiet during the proceeding or they could be charged with contempt of court and jailed.
Observers said about 50 police officers arrived at the park when the arrests were made at about 1:15 a.m. Wednesday. Those charged, all local residents, were identified as Ramon Caraballo, 26; Nathaniel Williams, 21; Allison Anderson, 18; Crystal Wernicke, 22; Adrianna Varevi, 22; Noah Hilliard, 30; Brandon Fish, 24; Matthew Rabon, 30; Tyreece Washington,
33; and Richard Fowler, 57.
Mendelsohn said all but Anderson would be released Wednesday on a personal recognizance bond. Mendelsohn set a bond of $470 for Anderson because he said she has two outstanding bench warrants for her arrest for failure to appear in court last month.
Those warrants must be resolved before she may post bond on the trespassing charge, he said.
Attorney Christopher Inglese, a member of Occupy Charleston, argued in court that requiring the arrested protesters to stay away from the park is "entirely excessive" and infringes on their right of free speech and peaceable assembly.
He said the protesters shivered overnight in a freezing cold jail and have no intention of returning to the park.
Mendelsohn said the bond conditions were "fair and reasonable." He advised the protesters to show up for their trial, which will happen with or without them. "It would behoove you to participate," he said.
Washington, one of the defendants, asked Mendelsohn, "What is considered Marion Square?"
Mendelsohn replied, "The street, curb, everything. It's the whole place, the whole block. My definition includes the sidewalk."
Members of Occupy Charleston were expected to meet Wednesday night to discuss their next step, Hamilton said.
The situation that led to the arrests began unfolding Monday when Mayor Joe Riley and Police Chief Greg Mullen met with three occupy Occupy Charleston members to discuss their desire for an indefinite occupation of the park, including camping with tents.
Riley told them that he would be willing to entertain a seven-day permit for daytime activities in part of the park, but said spending the night would not be allowed. The presence of Occupy Charleston in the park would be subject to the Special Events Committee approving it, he said.
Occupy Charleston is part of a nationwide movement intended to draw attention to economic disparity and business lobbying on Capitol Hill.
Go to postandcourier.com/occupycharleston for more coverage.