HELP US KEEP REPORTING. DONATE TO ORLANDO WEEKLY PRESS CLUB.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Occupation, Day 4: Activists hunker down for storm

Posted By on Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 3:46 PM

img_1915jpg

Though tonight’s forecast calls for 90 percent chance of rain, the activists rallying under the banner of Occupy Orlando are nowhere close to leaving Senator Beth Johnson Park--that's not an option. Instead, they're building a small village of structures out of donated tarps and sleeping in their cars; some are staying in personal tents erected on the opposite side of Ivanhoe Boulevard, next to the abandoned WBDO building in a vacant lot which some are calling “Occupy 2.0.” Uniting the occupiers is their anger over the social, economic, and political status quo, which they feel favors the wealthiest one percent at the expense of the other 99 percent--but adopting an overarching goal, or list of demands, still appears to be in the distant future for Occupy Orlando. “This is going to be a long process,” says David, a 42 year-old medical transcriptionist who, like many other volunteers, declined to give his last name. “It could take three months; it could take a year.”

David says he has only gone home once in the past four days – a half hour to retrieve his computer and a change of clothes – and on his ankle could still be seen the faded imprint of the telephone number of Jackie Dowd, one of the attorneys heading the group’s legal team. Many other activists had also tattooed themselves with vital telephone numbers in case they were arrested at one of the daily marches that the group has been staging down Orange Avenue since Saturday morning. It was then, Oct. 15, that the occupation officially began with a march of 1,000-plus people, which streamed south towards City Hall, then doubled back towards the park on Garland Street.

The number of dedicated activists staying near the park after its closing time of 11 p.m. has actually grown over the past few days, according to David. On Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights, he says he counted 40, 62, and 85 people, respectively. “We don’t want bodies leaving here,” he said. Today, he sat at his computer under a collection of tarps lashed between palm trees, monitoring the weather. Also on David’s screen was a chat window from the Occupy Orlando Livestream, which, besides providing a live video broadcast from Senator Beth Johnson Park, serves as a sounding board for people on the ground to advertise their need for supplies. Many of the donations are unsolicited, however—this morning, according to another volunteer, a sympathizer dropped off 25 Burger King breakfast sandwiches.

Nearby, a 25 year-old theme park employee named Drew, who slept in his car last night (the police are reportedly allowing the tarp structures to remain in the park after 11, but people are still required to leave), was helping to pin down a tent with concrete blocks. When asked what he may have been doing if he had not chosen to join the occupation, he says: “There’s not a whole lot I would really be doing other than dinking around on the Internet. I feel that this is a much more productive pastime.”

Tags: , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 27, 2020

View more issues

Calendar

© 2020 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation