Occupy Miami Ordered To Leave Government Center By Sundown UPDATE

Categories: Occupy Miami
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Two days after Oakland police arrested hundreds of protesters in violent clashes, Occupy Miami activists are facing their own impending deadline: Miami-Dade County has ordered them to leave their campsite outside the Stephen P. Clark Government Center by sundown tonight or face arrest for trespassing.

Organizers say they expect some Miami protesters to resist. "It's no coincidence the Florida Republican Primary is on today," says Occupy Miami spokesman Philip Picaza. "They're trying to clean us out."

Update: Is County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez the driving force behind the eviction? In a memo from earlier this month obtained by Riptide, Martinez -- who's also running for mayor -- calls the Occupiers a "tent city without a visible purpose or end." Click through to read his letter.

County spokeswoman Suzy Trutie tells Riptide the Occupiers are being evicted for "unsanitary site conditions." Here's her statement on the deadline:
"The County believes every individual is entitled to express their First Amendment right and has supported the efforts of those willing to do so in a peaceful manner. The Victorian Sunshine Corporation's permit to use the West Lawn at the Stephen P. Clark Center was denied based on the unsanitary site conditions and unsafe activities, which have resulted in a number of arrests by the Miami-Dade Police Department. The safety of those at the site as well as the safety of County employees and residents and visitors to the Stephen P. Clark Center is our top priority."
But Picaza says the county's complaints are bogus. Occupy Miami has been a notably peaceful presence downtown compared to other Occupy movements around the nation. Picaza says the forty or fifty remaining campers are willing to work with the county to solve any problems with their site.

"First they told us we needed to move so they could re-sod the field. Later they say it's for health and safety. We've been getting these mixed messages," he says.

The county is clear in a letter delivered to the camp yesterday, though (you can read the full letter below.) It orders the protesters to leave Government Center -- where they've camped since October -- by sundown or else "be subject to arrest for trespassing."

Picaza says the Occupiers have put out a call for supporters to mass at Government Center before the deadline.

"As far as Occupy Miami goes, we're stronger than ever," he says. "This camp is only the physical side of our movement."

Here's the county's letter to the protesters:

Occupy Miami Vacate

We'll be at the camp at sundown to report on what happens.

Update: Occupy leaders are calling out both Martinez and County Mayor Carlos Gimenez over Martinez's memo.

Dated Jan. 5, the letter shows that Martinez had been agitating about booting the protesters since early December. Martinez cites "various criminal complaints" at the camp and claims an unnamed "federal agency" is watching the Occupiers. He asks Gimenez to evict the camp before the commission passes a resolution to do the same.

Jose Suarez, the communications director for Occupy supporters 1Miami, calls Martinez's memo "ridiculous." Here's his statement:

"We find it painfully ridiculous that these politicians are more focused on cracking down on a few dozen protestors exercising their right to free speech rather than on seriously cracking down on the joblessness, corruption, and economic inequality that afflicts thousands of Miamians. The county's energies could be more usefully spent on solving Miami's real issues and getting our people back to work. Say what you will about the occupy movement, but what we can all agree on is that addressing serious issues and making our government accountable to the people should be the paramount priority."
Here's Martinez's memo. (Riptide called the commissioner's office for a comment, but we haven't heard back. We'll update this post when we do.)

Martinez stands by his memo and says he's glad to see the county evict the Occupiers.

"When it originally started, it was a demonstration but as time moved on protesters left and homeless moved in. They had sex in the camp, they smoked pot and there are a lot of problems," Martinez says. "They mayor wasn't doing anything about it."

martinezmemo

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes. Tim Elfrink writes about politics, crime and South Florida insanity @timelfrinkmia.
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16 comments
Germ City
Germ City

The homeless and the so called occupiers turned the lawn into a dirty tent city. Where do these people go to the bathroom?

Disgusting.

VivlianWozz
VivlianWozz

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Eva

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Edunnj
Edunnj

The qty of homeless who sleep on sidewalks in the area are 50 times the number of Occupiers. The Occupy movement has done more to change the dialog in this country, and we should all be grateful for that.

Bill Lara
Bill Lara

 Just got a text from Jennifer, She says they are being boxed in by County Police with teargas inside the Government Center Downtown Miami. And it appears some of the police officers are carrying rifles. She says they are (occupy) barricaded inside.

Bill Lara
Bill Lara

Jennifer Bridgett Fumero"The madness has occured in government center. this is a police state. its 1984. the cops are hungry to eat us alive".

Bill Lara
Bill Lara

Members of Occupy Miami have been surrounded by Metro Dade Police at the downtown Government Center. Among them Jennifer Fumero ( http://www.facebook.com/profil...  ), a reporter for the Florida Assdc. of Hispanic Journalists and the International Press Club Newsletter. Jennifer called from her position inside the Gov Center as the yelling and seeming chaos began just a scarce 5 minutes ago. 

Ignacioplata
Ignacioplata

Occupiers brought it upon themselves. Some just followed some want to be leaders so they could get free place to live. The want to be leaders chose to insult everyone that came to camp specially the most powerful who came to help and support them. They feared them for their ability to take over and for their natural leadership skills. One in particular was insulted, harassed, tricked, robbed and lied to. Well this take down of the camp is the price they had to pay for taking this revolution for selfish purposes. Victorian Sunshine Corporation secretly belonged to this person and it held the permit for months. One who truly believed in a need for real change. Where it not for the betrayals of Thomas Parisi, Kevin Young, Kevin Kage, Bruce Stanley, Mohamend Malik and Alex Orsini as well as their outright lack of knowledge, drug use, ridiculous plans of violence and use of this movement to attempt to get jobs  which they all failed to do and had they listened to this true leader they would have had a movement.This leader sought nothing except change. If it was not for Cesar Balbin this camp would have been taken down months ago. But ultimately when he heard of what was being planned and how they continued to try to remove him (just the 6) everyone else loved him and sang his praises every time he spoke, he withdrew his support and called the Feds himself. I am sure that Balbin will restart this movement again without these idiots. I hope so. Balbin comes from a long line of high politics and members of his family have been responsible for attempts to overthrow both the Batista and Castro regimes. While his uncle, Tony Cuesta has been brought up as the person who may have actually ordered the killing of John F. Kennedy in retaliation for the Bay of Pigs massacre Kennedy was blamed for. This is certainly a sophisticated person but one who has more civilized and real way of attacking the problems that exist. He has both the courage of family like Cuesta but has the tactical skills and foresight only his famous grandfather had. He is a tactical genuis. His points where:

1. Judicial overhaul including arrest and conviction of judges who consistently violate the law in their rulings.2. Aids education, protection3. End homelessness.4. Impose sanctions against Chinese products and other imports and build factories here for our homeless and unemployed to work at.5. Mandatory recycling.6. Free health care for all7. End the 2 party system.8. Flat 10% tax.9. Oversight of fraudulent public works projects10. Free education for all.11. Make those getting entitlement benefits like Section 8 housing and unemployment ,work for what they get and question their right to these benefits more closely. 12. Make peace with the middle east.13. Energy independence by relying on both solar, water and gas sources.    

Bri
Bri

I've been by government center a couple of times and have walked by their camp and it is totally disgusting. It smells like a homeless shelter. Its just a place where homeless sleep.

Rsalas
Rsalas

About F___king time!

Sir Sausage
Sir Sausage

The county let them camp out for months.  Police state my ass.  A police state would have teargassed and beat the shit out of them the first day they showed up.

Nadia
Nadia

Cesar, you have always been a snitch that used ppl to protest judges you had personal vendettas against.

nanook5
nanook5

this is a hilariously distorted take on the camp, although "colonel thomas" is indeed a backstabbing douchebag.

DonnaSlalalasGirlfriend
DonnaSlalalasGirlfriend

Someone who got forced out of a movement by a bnuch oh unemployed druggies is hardly a "tactical genius" in my opinion

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