Council Takes No Action on 'Occupy Tulsa' Request
Emory Bryan, News on 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- The Tulsa City Council took no action on a permit waiver request from Occupy Tulsa and the group says they will continue to camp in a public park in violation of the law.
The members of "Occupy Tulsa" want the City to waive all the rules that would prevent them from continuing their protest and campout in a park downtown. The police department has made arrests both Tuesday and Thursday nights, after the 11 pm curfew for parks.
The protest group has erected tents on the Centennial Green at 6th and Boston, but does not have a permit to occupy the space. Parks are public space, but any use by a group beyond what's allowed by city park rules requires a permit and fees.
Sam Molik, a member of the group, said several permits had been filled out and denied by the Parks Department. No representative of parks was at the meeting to address the situation.
Molik said the tents and signs, and occupation of the land, is an expression of free speech that's protected by the Constitution. Several Councilors argued the fees and permit requirements had not been waived for any other group.
City Attorney Mark Swiney said city ordinance specifically prohibited camping in parks.
City Council Chair Maria Barnes said the matter would be reconsidered, once the Council could meet with Parks and the group.
The Council has no meetings scheduled next week.