Occupy Tulsa stirs the pot with controversy, peaceful protest
Since Occupy Tulsa's inception in late September, the political group has developed a popular Facebook page with more than 9,000 "likes;" held a rally in front of the BOK Center, a protest march downtown and a "bank run" demonstration near 71st St. and s. Memorial Dr.; showed up with signs that read "Shame" and "World is Watching" to the Nov. 3 City Council meeting; and fired up controversy over dozens of arrests and a few incidents of pepper spray after days of peaceful demonstration on H.A. Chapman Centennial Green.
The movement in Tulsa is a grassroots group of loosely organized Oklahomans who support the Occupy Wall Street protests going on around the world. The group, which opposes the buying of politicians and a perceived rising corporatocracy, has held several General Assembly meetings on Saturday in west Tulsa's Newblock Park.
The Occupy movement, also called the 99 Percent Movement, claims no leaders but prominent spokespeople for the Tulsa organization include Daniel Lee, Samuel Molik and Stephanie Lewis.
At a Nov. 2 press conference, Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan addressed the arrests in Chapman Green. He fully supported the actions of dozens of Tulsa police officers, who came armed with tear gas guns to enforce H.A. Chapman Centennial Green's 11pm curfew.
Jordan admitted to monitoring the Occupiers' Facebook page for information.
Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr. also supported the actions of the officers, and issued a statement on Nov. 4, which stated in part: "We are committed to not only uphold the ordinances, but also to be consistent in how we treat all citizens. We will not treat one group differently than others, as Occupy Tulsa has requested, and we expect each group to comply with our laws and our processes."
The mayor's statement also stated, "We will not subsidize or allow the taxpayers to subsidize this demonstration."
So far, at least 33 people have been arrested during the group's "occupation" of the downtown park, all for curfew violations though a few protesters also had outstanding warrants, according to police.
At the Nov. 3 City Council meeting, about 50 Occupy Tulsa supporters asked the council to waive the fees, permits and insurance required to stay at Chapman Green. A city of Tulsa parks department representative was expected to address the request, but did not show up.
The council made no decision on the group's request, and will be expected to address the situation again at their 6pm meeting on Nov. 10.
Union families help out Windsail Apartment fire victims
A fire broke out at the Windsail Apartments near 73rd and Mingo on Nov. 1, damaging 24 units in the complex. The cause of the fire is undetermined, though no foul play is suspected, according to Tulsa Fire Department officials.
In total, seven families with children enrolled in Union Public Schools were affected, according to an email from Bobbie Fields, Jefferson Elementary School counselor.
Six of the students attend Jefferson Elementary, two go to the Seventh Grade Center, one is a senior at Union High School and one attends Rosa Parks Early Childhood Center.
The affected families have been relocated to vacant, empty apartments. Other Union families are chipping in furniture, baby and toddler clothing and other items.
Household items like towels, bedding and kitchen utensils are being collected at Jefferson Elementary, while the school system is also working to set up a fund through the Red Cross for the families.
To volunteer or drop off donations, contact Fields or Jefferson Elementary Principal Kim Wilson at 918-357-6677.
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