Occupy Fort Worth Reaches Out to City - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Occupy Fort Worth Reaches Out to City

Group trying to improve relations with Fort Worth



    Occupy Fort Worth is working to improving relations with the city.

    In recent weeks, police have made several misdemeanor arrests, but the group wants to avoid such charges and educate and inform city leaders.

    On Tuesday morning, a small contingent of occupiers, as they call themselves, introduced themselves to the City Council.

    Jo Jones, who was one of those arrested Oct. 15, said it was a peaceful arrest. She said Fort Worth police have been good to the protesters but she would still like to improve relations so that the protests can grow.

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    "We are not as fortunate as other Occupy movements," Jones said. "I think other cities and Occupy movements have recognized the right to a peaceful assemble and also the material needed for the right to peaceful assemble."

    The Fort Worth demonstrators stick to the sidewalks around Burnett Park these days, partly to avoid arrest.

    Fort Worth police say protesters are free to enter the park to demonstrate but could face arrest if they violate city ordinances. Camping is prohibited in parks and on sidewalks in Fort Worth, and obstructing a sidewalk is also prohibited.

    On Oct. 15, five protesters were arrested for having a tent on the sidewalk.

    Burnett Park also has a curfew that starts at 10 p.m. The protesters say they respect that restriction but will continue to occupy the area. A portable toilet has been removed, and Occupy Fort Worth said it is denied access to the electricity in the park. But participants said they won't let it get them off their message.

    They said they encourage people to come and talk to them about the issues, such as opposition to corporate greed and the influence of money in politics.

    Occupy Fort Worth said it also wants to reach out to the city to help get its message out and fix stereotypes and preconceived notions about their reasons for being there.

    "We understand that we need to have a working relationship not only with the City Council but with city officials," Jones said.

    The group, in the meantime, said isn't leaving Burnett Park. Group members said they want to change opinions one at a time.