Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas personally delivered word to the Occupy Little Rock encampment at 4th and Ferry Streets Monday evening that a city permit for the occupation, previously open-ended, would not be extended past May 16.
The news came as something of a surprise to Occupy Little Rock, which has been meeting in recent days with Mayor Mark Stodola, City Manager Bruce Moore and City Attorney Tom Carpenter about moves to other sites or other ways to potentially end the demonstration, now more than six months old.
Greg Deckelman, who talks to media on behalf of Occupy Little Rock, said the chief delivered the notice about 6 p.m. and said "he hated to be the bearer of bad tidings." He delivered no other message, Deckelman said. Occupy LR has no idea if this signals an end to further negotiations.
"We're hopeful they'll continue to negotiate," Deckelman said. He wasn't ready to say what the group would do if that's not the case. "It would be decided at that point through consensus of the general assembly." He said there was plenty of time to negotiate a different place for the group to camp, though visibility remains a prime aim of the group. The group has been talking to the city about the possibility of both public and private spots to relocate to.
Deckelman said city officials had said they might be willing to ask the City Board to consider the group's call for a non-binding city resolution opposition to the Citizens United ruling on "corporate personhood," but not a guarantee of passage of such a resolution.
City Manager Bruce Moore said the city needed the parking lot to accommodate buses during "tourist season."