INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – State officials gave Occupy Indy protesters 24 hours to clear their tents, sleeping bags and other camping accessories from the Statehouse lawn and warned there could be arrests Thursday should anybody resist the efforts to remove the items.
The Department of Administration ordered the handful of remaining protesters to clear out in a letter delivered Wednesday afternoon.
The state ordered the protesters to clear out “all personal property, including tents, sleeping bags, and tarps.” Anything left will be removed Thursday and taken to a Department of Sanitation parking garage.
Protester Adam Horter, 21, of Westfield, said his first feeling was “fury” after a state worker delivered the orders to protesters. ACLU Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk, who has provided advice to the protesters, said he was still reviewing the letter.
Department of Administration Commissioner Rob Wynkoop said he conferred with state police over the last week and had become concerned about the safety of the protesters and anyone visiting the Statehouse.
He emphasized protesters would be able to stay as long as they want, just without some of the camping equipment and other supplies they have assembled over the last few weeks.
“They are welcome to be there, it is their right to peaceably assemble,” he said Wednesday.
Protesters said the order was not about their safety but about stifling their demonstration.
“They’re coming up with everything they possibly can,” Greg Lambert, 52, of Indianapolis, said of the administration.
The state says protesters will be allowed to continue their demonstration around-the-clock — just without the camping chairs, food and other camping accessories the small group has collected over the last five weeks.
Police in New York and Oakland cleared out large encampments of protesters this week. But Indiana’s occupy protesters and police have been much more subdued since the Indianapolis demonstration started last month.