Occupiers Look to Change Tactics Ahead of Ban on Tents

Much of Occupy Nashville is breaking camp, in fear of being forced off the plaza outside the state capitol. A proposed law to remove the group’s tents is up for votes in both the state House and Senate tomorrow.

A few occupiers say they’ll wait it out and risk arrest if the law passes. Tom Sweet was busy hauling a truckload of camping supplies off to storage. He says once the fear of a police raid is over, protesters will be back on the plaza with signs, but no tents.

Breaking camp now gives the movement a chance to split, Sweet says, from a homeless crowd he feels used Occupy’s resources while making it look bad.

“So we’re falling back, we’re regrouping, we’re separating ourselves from the individuals who were out here drinking and drugging and carrying on. Once the tents are gone, they’ll be gone. We’ll be out here with our tables, our signs, our fliers and pamphlets, 24/7.”

The measure to ban camping on the plaza could be on its way tomorrow to Governor Haslam, who says he’ll likely sign it into law. But Haslam cautioned he’d check his legal authority with the state attorney general before carrying out an eviction.

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After an earlier eviction attempt was slapped down in court last fall, Haslam said he didn’t want legislation to boot the encampment. Haslam prefers a slower rulemaking process, which he says is continuing, but is “months, not weeks,” from being done.

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