Lansing mayor welcomes Occupy protesters with open arms

In Colorado, elected officials are moving to crack down on Occupy Denver, enforcing laws that prohibit camping in the park, but in Lansing, MI, the mayor has welcomed the protesters, offering permits, portable restrooms and more.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero paid an unexpected visit to Occupy Lansing protesters on Tuesday night and told the protesters that he had approved permits allowing them to stay in Reutters Park in downtown Lansing. He has even brought in porta-johns and is providing trash service.

Bernero also endorsed the purpose of the protests on his Facebook page Wednesday morning:

Our political system has become increasingly corportized, privatized and profitized by the filthy rich. The unholy alliance of Washington and Wall Street have conspired against regular folks to all but obliterate the American Dream and bastardise our democracy. Thank God the people are fighting back! America must be a place of opportunity for ALL, not just the few at the top. I welcome Occupy Wall Street to Lansing, Michigan.

Ken Orlich, one of the organizers of the Lansing protests, says the support is welcome.

My weigh in is, between this and his stance on publicly wishing to keep the MJ dispensaries open, he’s regained a lot more support from me personally as well. Its the right thing to do, politics or not. I’m glad to see at least one American mayor coming out in support of the people and not the rich. He gets it. I’m excited for that. Occupy is really gaining momentum toward some real, desperately needed, progressive change. He did say, paraphrase, “I think this movement really has a chance at changing things.”

Protesters began occupying the park, located one block south of the Capitol on Friday.

Scot Kersgaard contributed to this article.

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Todd A. Heywood

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