County orders Occupy SLO to leave courthouse grounds
October 30, 2011
By KAREN VELIE
County officials ordered Occupy SLO protesters to stop spending the night at the San Luis Obispo County Courthouse property, where they’ve been encamped for the past two weeks.
Officials posted letters signed by SLO County Administrator Jim Grant at the encampment on Friday which ordered the protesters to evacuate the area daily from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. County officials listed issues such as urination in the area, protesters plugging into county electrical outlets and attaching hoses to courthouse water lines as the catalysts for the order.
Many of the protesters took off late on Friday evening with a handful waiting to be arrested. Meanwhile, the local Halloween celebration carried on unimpeded and at times spread into the encampment.
County and police officials, however, did not take any action against the campers other than to arrest a bystander who lifted his shirt to expose a knife stuck in his belt. Another attendee alerted police who descended on the encampment at about 1:30 a.m. on Saturday and arrested the man who was also carrying an open container of alcohol.
The courthouse protest has been plagued with altercations from homeless bystanders who have moved from encampments next to local creeks to the courthouse.
Steering Committee Occupy SLO chair Evan Sylvester said in an email that illegal activities at the encampment include:
• Drug and alcohol use
• Illegal solicitation of funds
• Urination, piles of human feces, and trash littered around the County building
• A man urinated on a tent that two little girls were sleeping in
• Indecent exposure
• Someone broke their arm the other night in an altercation
• Several other altercations
• Abundant dog feces in the grass
During the past week, the originators of Occupy SLO withdrew their support for the courthouse occupation amidst heavy infighting from different factions of the group.