Occupy Salt Lake members vow to continue movement despite ban on camping

Leaders wear arrest as badge of honor

Published: Sunday, Nov. 13 2011 7:27 p.m. MST

Occupy SLC participants were more peaceful and low-key on Sunday.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Less than 24 hours after 19 people were either arrested or cited at Pioneer Park Saturday night, members of the Occupy Salt Lake movement were back at the park planning out their next move Sunday.

Rather than being arrested, it was a much more peaceful and low-key gathering Sunday. Many who were among the 19 arrested were back at the park for a group meeting with Occupy leaders. They wore their arrest as a badge of honor.

"My experience at the jail was so pleasant because I was with the greatest people," a man who identified himself as Lionel said of being arrested with the others.

"I couldn't have been arrested with a nicer group of people," said a woman who identified herself as arrestee No. 13.

The group thanked those who were arrested for coming back, and also thanked them for being not being violent when they were taking into custody.

While their tents were now gone, the group Sunday wanted to work on strategies for continuing their protest, including meeting at the Gallivan Center everyday this week at noon for a march. The group had signs posted at their meeting with messages such as, "Back off Becker" and "More committed than ever."

"Don't lose sight of the vision and the dream," one member encouraged the others.

"We are here as an assembly of the people," said another Occupy member. "They can tear down our tents but they can't tear us down. We are going to march forward under a broader vision."

A member of the group said the Occupy movement had been invited by Mayor Ralph Becker to allow one of their members to sit-in on the quarterly meetings he and other social service providers hold.

Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank announced Friday that camping would no longer be allowed at Pioneer Park or the Gallivan Center because of on-going drug, alcohol and fight problems, but that the group was allowed to continue their protest. The announcement came following the death of a man inside a tent at the park. The death was attributed to a combination of carbon monoxide poisoning and a drug overdose.

A make-shift memorial for the man was set-up near a tree at the park on Sunday.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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