Local News

Protesters get new camp near downtown Raleigh

Posted November 28, 2011 10:58 a.m. EST
Updated November 28, 2011 5:41 p.m. EST

— A property owner has allowed members of the so-called "Occupy Raleigh" movement to set up a base camp in a dirt lot near downtown.

Two weeks ago, the City Council voted unanimously to prohibit the group from camping behind City Hall. The council said allowing such a camp would reverse efforts to prevent people from sleeping on city property, and members also cited concerns about security, cost, noise and potential crime.

Mayor-elect Nancy McFarlane brokered a deal for the protesters to set up camp in a privately owned gravel parking lot on the corner of Lenoir and Blount streets, but some members said the site was too small and wasn't in a safe area.

The protesters are now being allowed to use a 0.057-acre lot near the corner of West and Edenton streets, where they have set up about a dozen tents.

Joseph Huberman, a member of the group, said the acquisition of a base camp came at a good time. Police have started enforcing rules that protesters cannot sit or set things on the sidewalk while picketing outside the State Capitol, he said, and the camp gives protesters a place to store their belongings.

Property owner Rob Baumgart said he offered to lease the site to the protesters because of his acquaintance with Huberman. He said the group needs to obtain the proper city permits to cook food and use a portable restroom on the site, and he can terminate their lease if they violate any city ordinances.