Occupy Miami: Soggy But Peaceful Outside Government Center
Between 30 and 40 people slept out in stormy weather last night and today, many more gathered to join the movement, offering opinions, bringing water, and generally just sitting outside on the pavement. There were no cops in sight, and the occupiers are intent on keeping interactions with the police to a minimum. To do this, they're on their best behavior.
No drugs, alcohol, or violence are allowed onsite. There were two run-ins with police yesterday, one dealing with a homeless man and not occupiers, and another when two officers came to investigate the smell of marijuana. They found nothing and no one was arrested.
British foreign exchange student Camilla Boldracchi said, "As individuals, we usually act well, but as a group, we're trying to do it even more, just because we don't want to have any problems."
He said of their first night outside. "It was beautiful and we exchanged political views. We all decided how we are going to organize and make cohesive, very non-confrontational communication between each other."
Facilitators and volunteers buzzed around trying to plan meetings, manage discussions and decide what needs they have as a group. Logistics continue to be a challenge. Committees are being formed to decide what security, logistics, medical, food, and media action must be taken. For instance, public urination is both illegal and strongly discouraged, and there are no public restrooms. The nearest bathroom is a five-minute walk to 7-Eleven or McDonald's.
Despite all of these challenges, things are going pretty smoothly. According to occupier David Shreve, "I was really interested in the cooperative order that came out of a seemingly chaotic environment."
Boldracchi said of their first night outside, "Everything went very well. People were collaborating and sharing food, music, guitar playing. It was all very peaceful."
With plans for a musical concert this week and possible teach-ins in the works, the planning and occupation continues. If you have a job, a dog, or a child, and thus can't spend nights in downtown Miami, you can provide sleeping bags and tents to the cause. With this weather, umbrellas probably wouldn't hurt either.