Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 4:22 p.m.
That whole "occupy" part of Occupy Santa Ana is proving to be a bit difficult.
Santa Ana Police officials and City Attorney Teresa Judd met with members of Occupy Santa Ana yesterday and informed them that the municipal code doesn't allow camping on city property.
The group initially planned to occupy the area outside the Ronald Reagan Federal Building on October 22 in solidarity with groups currently occupying Wall Street and Los Angeles.
A recent Occupy event at the Orange Circle
According to one of Occupy Santa Ana's organizers, Sam Aresheh
, this revelation hasn't put a damper on the group's plans to press forward. The 23-year-old Cal State Fullerton student insists the event will proceed, and include a prolonged occupation.
Aresheh says he was among a small group who met with Santa Ana Officers Ken Gomisnky and Michael McCoy as well as City Attorney Judd yesterday. Once the meeting got down to brass tacks, Aresheh said things quickly went in circles: "I told him right away we're going to stage a protest very similar to Occupy Wall Street and Occupy LA, and he told me Santa Ana's municipal code doesn't allow camping."
Aresheh adds that police told him if they continue with plans to camp, "After a warning, people would be subject to arrest."
As for how such a scenario would play out, folks will have to keep an eye on New York. The city has plans to go into Zucotti Park tomorrow where protesters are currently camped. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has said activists will be required to remove their items
and leave the park and will not be allowed to return to the park with camping gear.
Occupy Santa Ana will be having a general assembly meeting tonight at 7:30 P.M. at Flower Street Park to discuss the logistics of the upcoming event including a possible loophole in the city code. "We're going to camp in a way that won't subject us to arrest," said Aresheh. Though the group still intends to do some protesting outside the federal building, they are now focusing on holding the bulk of the event at Santa Ana's civic center.
Meanwhile, Occupy Orange County will be holding their own occupation of Irvine's Financial District
starting this Saturday morning. Though there have been grumblings on Facebook and angry comments in forum threads about the decision to hold the Occupy Orange County event in Irvine instead of Santa Ana, Aresheh downplays rumors of tension between groups, adding he will be at the Irvine event until the start of the Santa Ana protest.
It should also be mentioned that there are now two separate Occupy Orange County pages, one featuring details for the Irvine event, and another with details for the Santa Ana event. To keep up with the plans for Santa Ana, follow them on Twitter or Facebook.