The Occupy Movement is set to converge on St. Louis this St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Representatives from Occupy St. Louis, Occupy Chicago and other regional Occupy groups will hold an Occupy The Midwest convention Thursday through Sunday. The event will include non-violent actions, meetings and workshops.
Occupy Chicago’s Rachael Perrotta said the Occupy The Midwest regional convention had its roots in St. Louis, when area organizers suggested protesters should share skills, participate in actions and create a communication infrastructure to take the movement to a new level.
Perrotta said the convention’s date marks the six month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street.
Return to Kiener
Occupy The Midwest kicked-off its convention Wednesday with a press conference in Kiener Plaza. Jay Kurtz Jr., a Wildwood resident, said Kiener was a special place for the local occupiers.
“For a lot of us, that [Kiener] feels like home,” he said.
But the Kiener venue didn’t come without problems. After the organization hanged a large sign, a parks ranger told them they had to take it down if they didn’t have a permit.
Perrotta said Occupiers consider the First Amendment their permit and believe concerned citizens have the right to protest.
Traveling for Protest
Groups from across the country planned to attend the Occupy The Midwest convention. Perrotta said 18 Occupy groups from around the region have endorsed the gathering. She also expected a group from Texas to make the trek to St. Louis.
Even though outside the midwest, members of Occupy Boston had an early showing Wednesday afternoon. Mike Hipson traveled from Massachusetts to record video of different occupy groups.
Occupy supporters from St. Louis were also at the Wednesday press conference. Reese Forbes, president of the St. Louis chapter of Veterans for Peace and former Kirkwood resident, has been involved with Occupy St. Louis off and on over the past several months. He said the financial issues Occupy addresses overlap with his organization’s concerns.
Zach Chasnoff of Occupy St. Louis said the convention is planning several protest actions. One of those actions, he said, will target Creve Coeur-based .
Other actions will focus on economic and ecological issues.
Organizers indicated they will have a total of four non-violent actions during the convention. However they gave few details on the upcoming actions.
The convention began at 10 a.m. on March 15.