NASHVILLE, TENN. (AP/WMOT) -- The character of the Occupy protest movement changed this week, with hundreds of protesters arrested across the country in sometimes violent confrontations with police.
Here in Middle Tennessee the Occupy movement is still peaceful and is still being supported by the courts.
Thursday, a federal judge in Nashville made permanent an injunction barring the State from evicting protesters occupying Legislative Plaza. Judge Aleta Trauger ‘s ruling does leave the door open for the State to create new rules governing the protests.
The Haslam Administration says it will seek wider input this time before making those rules. Any new regulations would likely allow the protests to continue, but may eventually prevent protesters from camping on the plaza.
The Nashville Occupy movement turned out last night for a panel discussion at the Hilton Hotel featuring former Secretary of Defense Donald Remsfeld.
The Tennessean says that four protesters were escorted from the building when they disrupted the discussion. About 40 more were protesting outside, reportedly calling for Rumsfeld’s arrest as a war criminal in connection with the U.S. war in Iraq.
Occupy spokesman Jason Steen says that message does mesh with the movement’s primary concerns about economic inequality.
"The bill just for Donald's war alone was $1.4 trillion. That's ten percent of our national debt. So it ties right back in to the economic aspect as well."
Steen says that more than 70 protesters are now camping out each night on the Plaza, twice the number that first occupied the area back on October 7.