ANARCHY DAY 12: Occupy Las Cruces Returns

Posted: May 12, 2012 in Anarchists & Communists

Occupy Las Cruces returns to campsite

By Brian Fraga /

Posted:   05/11/2012 05:48:31 PM MDT


LAS CRUCES — The camp tents of Occupy Las Cruces are making a comeback this weekend as activists representing the “99 percent” return to Albert Johnson Park for the first time since folding up their camp site in February.

This time around, the occupiers will only be camping at the park near City Hall for two days, during which they will have a pot-luck dinner, musical performances and discussions on various issues.

Occupy Las Cruces will be having similar events the following two weekends at Young Park and Apodaca Park. The group obtained two-day permits to camp at those parks, said Las Cruces Parks and Recreation Director Mark Johnston.

“They’ve done their paperwork, paid their fees, and jumped through all the bureaucratic stuff for us,” Johnston said.

Jason Burke, a spokesman for Occupy Las Cruces, said the rotating weekend events at different parks constitute the group’s “Phase 3”, which he expects will last for the next three months.

“We’re starting out slow. There will only be a couple of us actually camping out this weekend, then we’re hoping in the next couple of weeks to bring in a whole new group of people to start camping,” Burke said.

“We haven’t camped in a few months, so a lot of people aren’t used to it,” Burke said.

Occupy Las Cruces completed “Phase 1” in February after breaking down its town city at Albert Johnson Park, where protesters had camped for more than 100 days. In “Phase 2,” the group took to the streets, demonstrating at

several locations in town.

Saturday’s pot-luck will kickoff the third phase and also marks the group’s six-month anniversary. During that time, Occupy Las Cruces has taken credit for maintaining a 24-hour peaceful demonstration in a public park and expressing “solidarity with the national Occupy movements,” among other points.

Occupy Las Cruces is one of many groups nationally that sprang last year from Occupy Wall Street in New York City. Occupy protesters have demonstrated against a myriad of issues related to corporate greed and political corruption.

Now Occupy Las Cruces is looking to build its base of support with plans to canvass neighborhoods and schedule teach-ins and movie nights during the weekend events.

“We’re reaching out to the community like we did back in Phase 1,” said Burke, who described the weekend gathering as an opportunity to combine fun activities with discussions aimed at raising social justice awareness. Burke also envisions the Occupy group forming coalitions with local nonprofits, churches and agencies to serve the community.

“It’s an evolving thing. We’re learning as we go. Hopefully we can become a kind of center for everyone to come together and organize,” Burke said.

Brian Fraga can be reached at (575) 541-5462; Follow him on Twitter @bfraga


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