Updated 12/07/2011 04:37 PM
Permit allows occupiers to stay in park until Dec. 22
It looks like the Occupy Albany movement will live on for at least another two weeks after protesters said they were able to make changes to meet certain codes. Steve Ference has the details.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- "It was something the city asked us to do, and we are interested in maintaining a good relationship with the city so we did have this conversation to maintain that relationship," said Occupy Albany protester Hezzie Johanson.
After the city threatened to shut down Occupy Albany unless they met certain codes, occupiers made sure they removed combustible material from around the tents, have no more than 30 tents, and no more than two heaters, for example.
Occupy Albany attorney Steve Downs said, "They're concerned about health and safety...but both the city's concerned about what we're concerned about. So it's all about the details of how far the tents are apart and the trash and all of this."
All of this, to meet the city's deadline. The Corporation Counsel tells us they had some small concerns about garbage, which were easily addressed, then the protesters can stay until Dec. 22 in Academy Park with the new permit.
Johanson said, "We haven't spoken specifically about what will happen after Dec. 22. The permit does end on Dec. 22, and Occupy Albany fully intends to stay."
The major issue moving forward is the winter weather, keeping people safe in the coldest of conditions, which are inevitable this time of year.
Downs said, "I think we've all decided to clean this up because the worst thing that can happen in the Occupy movement is people get killed down there...It's happened in other places."
Occupiers say while they deal with the technicalities of trying to be able to stay in this park, they believe it's been worth it. Case in point - state leaders pushing toward a higher tax rate for those making the most money in New York.
Johanson said, "We would like to take a lot of credit for that. This is one of the things that has been really central to what we've been doing since we arrived here at the end of October, and I think that our message is being heard."
A movement that now tries to further its political message, free from the pressures of coming into code compliance as the question of whether they will be able to stay indefinitely remains.