Protesters in Nashville aligned with the Occupy Wall Street movement are cheering because state troopers have stopped arresting curfew violators around the capitol. However, there are mixed emotions among demonstrators.
The scene of handcuffed protesters being hauled off a few days ago galvanized support and boosted Occupy Nashville’s numbers. Some of those arrested say the state – in a way – did them a favor as they draw attention to the concentration of wealth in the U.S. and corporate interests in politics
Sunday night, Kevin Vandenbrink did what he could to get cuffed.
“The fact that I’m not means we did our job, so I can’t be too disappointed, but I am a little.”
A spokesperson for the Tennessee Highway Patrol wouldn’t comment on why troopers have not enforced the new curfew for the last two nights.
Arrests have become a badge of honor among the Occupy Nashville encampment. Some are identifying themselves as “number 17 of the 29,” referring to group taken in last Friday. Laura Wallace was among them and says she’s thrilled that the state has backed off a curfew that she sees as a freedom of speech violation.
“I think the First Amendment right and that being honored is much more important than the drama of an arrest.”
Even if the arrests stop permanently, Wallace says she hope protesters will continue to be engaged.