Occupy Jacksonville protesters recently voted to officially occupy downtown Hemming Plaza, an area just outside of City Hall, to further illustrate their demands. The move to occupy comes despite a mini-showdown with City Councilman Don Redman, who sparred with the group over where they are legally allowed to sleep.
In a video taken last night and uploaded to qik.com, protesters can be seen sparring with Redman over where, exactly, they can legally protest.
After arguing with protestors over whether or not they can legally protest “with chairs and tables on the sidewalk,” Redman can be seen speaking with a police officer about what do about the protestors. “We can’t set up tables on the sidewalk,” Redman says to a protester showing him a list of protesters’ legal rights. “As long as you’re doing things legal, I have no problem.”
Redman later said he had a problem with the fact that policemen were needed to be present around the clock to make sure protestors were abiding by the law: “I have a problem with, at the taxpayers’ expense, tying up these policemen here, 24 hours a day, to make sure ya’ll abide by those rules.”
According to one protestor featured in the video, the group specifically chose to protest on a sidewalk because, legally, that is the only place they can do so.
Later, a man identifying himself as one of Redman’s constituents approaches the councilman. “I’m a constituent of yours, I live right around the corner and, from the beginning, you’ve come out to this and you’ve alerted police to, what you felt, were infringements on local municipal ordinances when, at no point … have we ever broken any laws or broken any local ordinances,” he says.
“Well, you know, that’s questionable,” says Redman.
Corey Wilborn, a regional organizer for the ACLU, then tells Redman, “We want to stand clear and make sure that it’s peaceful, and we want to make sure that the protest is done appropriately, but we do want our voices heard. We do want our voices heard.”
“Who’s gonna hear ya’ll’s voice down here tonight at midnight?” asked Redman.
“You are,” shoots back the cameraman.
Redman has become a fixture at local Occupy events, and told The Florida Independent during the group’s initial protest that he was checking to see if any of the protesters had been paid to join the Occupy movement.
This is the sixth week of Occupy Jax protests, and today marks the first business day the group will officially occupy the area. The group has set up a livestream of its protest here.