ST. LOUIS – The so-called Occupy St. Louis protest camp at St. Louis City Hall is gone after two troubling nights. Authorities moved it out early Friday morning.
There’s was a list of reasons why including cleanliness, public health (coronavirus concerns, etc.), and a city ordinance against camping in parks (which includes city hall), said Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards.
Violence was at the top of the list, he said.
Dozens of people moved in outside city hall this week, even setting up furniture and tents.
They were calling for Mayor Lyda Krewson to resign. Demonstrators painted the message “Resign Lyda” in the street and on banners.
Two weeks ago in a Facebook Live post, the mayor gave names and addresses of people who had signed a petition to defund police. She apologized and removed the post.
The city’s street and refuse departments, backed by about 150 police officers, moved the protesters out and a dumpster full of garbage, including the tents and furniture, about 4 p.m. Friday morning.
In the two nights of the camp, one person was stabbed, there was a large fight, and two city workers were beaten with firearms, Edwards said.
“I just made a decision enough is enough,” he said. “We will not allow these types of things to happen in the City of St. Louis. In the City of St. Louis, black men bear the brunt of homicide both as victim and as defendant. So, if black lives really matter, why aren’t we trying to save those lives? That’s part of the equation.”
Edwards, who is black, agreed with calls to end systemic racism. He supported the right of protesters to call for his boss’s resignation. He’d even taken out a permit for protests to continue at a park across the street from city hall, he said. The call to end the camp was his and not the mayor’s, he said. Krewson refused to answer questions about it from Fox2/News11 Friday.
One of the suspects in the beatings of the city workers Wednesday night was arrested back at the camp, Thursday night, he said.
There’s been no arrest for the stabbing. He says the victim received stitches and is recovering.