Broward News

Occupy Fort Lauderdale Gets the Boot Again

Occupy Fort Lauderdale's residency in Wilton Manors was a bit short-lived.

After the Downtown Development Authority informed protesters it was going to close Bubier Park in Fort Lauderdale from 2 to 6 a.m. and ban tents and tarps from the park, the group picked up and moved to Equality Park in Wilton Manors.

Then came an email yesterday from the executive director of the Pride Center at Equality Park saying they support the movement but they can't let the group set up shop at their place.

Here's the email Occupy Fort Lauderdale posted from Executive Director Paul Hyman:

Thanks for your message. I've obtained information that results in our not being able to continue to host the Occupy Fort Lauderdale group on our property, beyond this afternoon. I realize this is inconsistent with my previous statement about the group's being able to remain here until tomorrow.

Here's why: our property insurance agent indicates that Occupy Fort Lauderdale's presence is deemed a "civil commotion" by our policy and is not covered. So even though we are not charging any fees /rent to the group, should anyone be hurt either by an outside attack, by each other or otherwise, we have no liability coverage for your presence here. Additionally, our certificate of occupancy with the City only allows for operations that occur within the two buildings that we occupy. Certain exterior areas are zoned 'light industrial', therefore they are not available for use until our master planning process and rezoning are completed.

The work of the Occupy movement, and that of Occupy Fort Lauderdale, is highly consistent with our mission. Over time, we would be happy to support the group in other ways-- with the use of interior space for specific events, outreach support--as we do other community groups. However, the exterior 'base camp' will need to be discontinued, by the end of business today--no later than 6pm.

We are honored to have provided very short-term assistance, since yesterday. And we respect and support your efforts to raise awareness of unworkable economic and social conditions in our community.

Paul Hyman
Executive Director
The Pride Center at Equality Park

For now, the occupation is homeless, although the general assembly meetings will be held daily back at Bubier Park.

The next demonstration for the group is planned for Saturday at 11 a.m. starting outside Fort Lauderdale's federal courthouse.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley