Occupy Nashville protesters fight public indecency claims - WSMV Channel 4

Occupy Nashville protesters fight public indecency claims

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The once peaceful Occupy Wall Street movement has begun clashing with police across the country. Even the situation in Nashville is getting police attention, after complaints of "inappropriate behavior" at Legislative Plaza.

As it turns out, they are likely not to blame.

About 50 people with Occupy Nashville have been camped out on the plaza for the past 19 days. But they say because of some homeless people who are causing trouble, they no longer feel safe.

"I am a part of Occupy Nashville. We are not hippies who are descending into mayhem. We are people who are concerned about what's happening in our country," protester Dorsey Malina said.

Now, these people who call themselves defenders of democracy are asking for more protection at night.

"For instance, last night I was here and witnessed a fight between two homeless people, one of which was bloody," Malina said.

But state troopers who patrol the area have received complaints of public urination and sexual acts.

"I would be concerned, too, if I looked out my window and saw that happening. I would be outraged. But I am here to say that is not Occupy Nashville," Malina said.

"We've had some issues of people who come in, people who are hanging out having a good time, thought they could join the party. And these things kind of bring negative activities with them," protester Lance Gomez said.

Metro police say they arrested two people Tuesday night for selling marijuana to undercover officers at Legislative Plaza. It is unclear if they are part of the Occupy Nashville group or not.

"I really want to make the distinction very clear that the people who have come here on behalf of Occupy Nashville and who are here in this camp are really dedicated to a non-violent, clean protest and demonstration about what we believe in," protester Carrie Churchill said.

Churchill says there are two very different camps in the one plaza, those with Occupy Nashville and those who are homeless.

"And this has become a major source of antagonism for our camp," she said.

So that is why Occupy Nashville leaders met with legislative police Wednesday trying to get more help and protection.

"We want to know the correct channels to go through to get this taken care of, so not only Occupy Nashville will be safe but the homeless will be safe," Malina said.

Occupy Nashville has a written code of conduct that leaders expect everyone to agree to live by. And if anyone breaks the rules, they are kicked out.

Occupy leaders say the state is supposed to give them a written proposal Thursday morning about exactly what kind of protection they can and cannot offer while they are here.

And protesters said they plan to be occupying the plaza until their job is done.

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