The Occupy Charleston movement maintained late Monday that it is "prepared to challenge" Mayor Joe Riley's decision limiting the movement to seven more days -- and to daylight hours only -- in Marion Square.
Riley on Monday turned down Occupy's request to stay at Marion Square indefinitely, and camp there.
"The public space in the city belongs to the public. The permanent occupation of one space will not be allowed," Riley said.
The mayor, Police Chief Greg Mullen and three members of Occupy Charleston met behind closed doors for an hour to discuss the matter. Other city staffers were present.
Afterward, Riley presented his position on the issue in an interview. The group was told it could Occupy the square for seven days and only during daylight hours.
Occupy Charleston activist Chris Inglese was among those who met with city officials, and he said hours later that Occupy remains in Marion Square. He maintains the group has the right to continue a peaceful assembly.
"The people are prepared to assert their right to a peaceful assembly," Inglese said.
He said he would not use the term "defy," preferring the word, "challenge," regarding Riley's order.
But, Inglese said, it would be the city that is in defiance of citizens' rights if it denies Occupy the right to remain at Marion Square.
"The group is prepared to challenge any authority that prohibits the right to a peaceful assembly," he added.
"Occupy Charleston is disappointed with the meeting," Inglese said immediately after it. "Our position is that it's questionable, it's not clear at least, whether a permit is required for peaceable assembly," Inglese said.
An indefinite stay with camping are essential elements of an occupation, which would not disrupt business or interfere with public use of the park, he said.
"What we heard today was 'No.' We certainly are open to a different location," he said.
The group's General Assembly will meet after Thanksgiving to discuss the city's position and decide a course of action, he said.
Riley said Marion Square camping is prohibited under a deed restriction that accompanies the property. The city recognizes Occupy Charleston's right to peaceable assembly and free speech, he said.
Riley said his recommendation on the issue will go to the city Special Events Committee if and when a permit application from Occupy Charleston is received.
Under a city permit, Occupy Charleston occupied Brittlebank Park for 99 consecutive hours last month. Both sides described the event as a positive experience.
Occupy movements born out of frustration with economic inequalities have sprung up around the country, first on Wall Street and later spreading west to Oakland, Calif., where violence was reported. Most of the demonstrations have been peaceful. The events support an end to the influence of corporate-funded lobbyists on Capitol Hill and a more equitable distribution of wealth.