Tennessee General Services Commissioner Steven Cates announced Friday, that the state has spent thousands of dollars in attending to wear and tear on Legislative Plaza, and has arbitrarily attributed these damages to the participants in Occupy Nashville, declining to give an actual amount. Without any evidence of the movement’s culpability, Commissioner Cates has accused participants of the Occupy Nashville movement of defecating and urinating on the grounds of Legislative Plaza, claiming the cleaning of which required the use of pressure washers. Being state property, the Tennessee Highway Patrol is responsible for maintaining order on Legislative Plaza. Occupy Nashville is not responsible for policing the actions of other people who choose to occupy our public space.
Prior to the enacting of a curfew, the state decided it did not need to dispatch patrols, despite numerous requests by Occupy Nashville to do so. On Wednesday in a budget hearing with Governor Haslam, Commissioner Bill Gibbons said he was willing to fire four THP officers and install cameras, claiming this would adequately fulfill the general security needs on Legislative Plaza. Occupy Nashville supports the continuous presence of the state troopers who are here to protect and serve us as citizens. Lowering police presence will undoubtedly result in more anarchy and wanton destruction, conducted by persons unrelated to Occupy Nashville.
Occupy Nashville is a peaceful, non-partisan movement created in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement, advocating against the inequities and disparities between the country’s top 1% of income earners, and everybody else. The group also seeks to remove the influence of money upon our elected politicians, and place that authority squarely into the hands of the voters. Additional information on Occupy Nashville can be found at www.occupynashville.org.