Lansing mayor goes on National TV to praise Occupiers

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero appeared on the Ed Show on MSNBC Thursday night to forcefully support the Occupy Wall Street protests across the country, and specifically to support the Lansing protests.

The Lansing mayor’s voice comes as several cities — including Seattle, Denver, San Antonio and Grand Rapids — have moved to eject protesters from public property. In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg backed off earlier plans to eject protesters from Zuccotti Park to “clean” the property. Thousands appeared at the park at 6 a.m. prepared to be arrested to prevent New York Police from evicting the protesters.

By contrast, Bernero has provided Lansing protesters, currently occupying Reutters Park one block south of the state Capitol, with portable toilets, trash cans and an open-ended permit allowing the protesters to camp in the park.

Meanwhile, activists are working with the Michigan Peace Team Friday to train protesters in non-violent intervention and de-escalation skills. And at midnight Friday, UAW will send a large group to join the occupiers in Reutters Park. Mike Karl, a General Motors employee, told protesters the group will convene its Auto Workers’ Roundtable in the park to support occupiers.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported Saturday that Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper–who ordered protesters out of Denver’s Lincoln Park, with about two dozen arrested Early Friday–was the most aggressive public official in the country in terms of laying down the law.

About another two dozen Denver protesters were arrested Saturday evening.

From The New York Times:

The police action, though expected by the protesters, came in the chill darkness of early morning, with flashing lights, black-clad officers and a blaring public address announcement that the park was being “closed until further notice.”

The police in other cities where protests have spread have not yet sought to dismantle them — though in some cities, like Boston, the police have moved to stop the protest from expanding to additional locations. Gov. John Hickenlooper appears to be the first state leader to take such an aggressive stance.

Scot Kersgaard contributed to this article.

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Todd A. Heywood

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