As expected, city officials said any private property owner who'd agreed to provide a spot for relocation of the Occupy Little Rock camp would face zoning problems if they accommodated tents. So, a plan to use a vacant lot downtown, or near downtown, is now out of the picture for the group.
That means that Little Rock police will move on the expiration of the group's permit at 7 a.m. tomorrow morning. Though most of the camp is being struck today, a few tents wil be in place then for symbolic reasons and a small group of Occupy LR people will be on hand and refuse to end their 1st Amendment right of free assembly and speech. They say they'll peacefully submit to arrest.
Legal action will follow, Occupy LR indicated at a Tuesday evening news conference. ACLU-cooperating attorneys are prepared to represent members of the group both in defending their arrests and, afterward, filing a legal action over the arbitrary permitting process that led to the city's eviction decision. The group has been camping on a parking lot at 4th and Ferry since October in solidarity with a national movement demonstrating against corporate influence over politics. City officials have generally tolerated the group, but city directors, led by Lance Hines, who lives in West Little Rock, have grown increasingly irritated at the sight of the camp. That led to a deadline for the group to move. The city said the precipitating reason was a need for the parking lot for bus parking for Riverfest and other visitors.
The City Board meets tonight. Occupy LR sought, but wasn't given, a spot on the agenda, which comes with an open-ended time commitment. They'll be allowed to speak during the limited forum provided for public comment.