Nashville Occupiers See Opening As Similar Efforts Struggle

Occupy Nashville will likely hold its ground for the next couple months, even as police around the country break up similar encampments. A court injunction says protesters can keep camping near the state capitol. Some Nashville occupiers see that as a chance to expand while efforts elsewhere dwindle.

There are more than fifty tents in the plaza at the state legislature, mostly around the edges. Now occupiers are adding a new row straight down the middle.

A federal court order says occupiers can’t be arrested just for being there, though they can still be cited if they do anything illegal. Simon Dillon has been traveling and staying with various Occupy groups, and he says Nashville’s relative safety drew him here.

“The potential this camp has with the injunction protecting it, this can be actually used as a national base and still be in compliance with the law, and basically not have to worry about getting the infrastructure set up.”

Dillon says one advantage Nashville has is it’s relatively organized. He points to a code of conduct meant to separate occupiers who’ve agreed to behave from outsiders taking advantage of free food and a place to crash.

Nashville occupiers say they’re hoping to draw fellow protesters from around the state to the plaza for a rally this weekend.

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State officials say they’ve barely begun the rulemaking process that would remove the encampment from the plaza. Action may come when lawmakers reconvene in January.

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