VIDEO: Occupy Colorado Springs is going strong

While all the attention in Colorado seems to go to Occupy Denver, it is not the only occupation in the state. People have been occupying Acacia Park in Colorado Springs for more than two weeks now, so far without an arrest.

“They’ve issued warnings about tents, and we have had private property offered to us, but so far we’ve decided to stay here,” one woman told The Colorado Independent. She did not want to be identified because of her work situation.

“The amount of support we are getting for Occupy Colorado Springs is mind-blowing,” she said. “People are just coming up to us on the street and giving us money and bags of food. It’s just amazing, especially in Colorado Springs. It is beautiful, absolutely beautiful,” she said.

On Saturday, she said a man in an NRA T-shirt stopped to talk. “He didn’t agree with us, but we had a conversation. I’ve been having these conversations with my own social group for 15 years,” she said, “but the general public has not wanted to have this conversation. Now people seem ready to talk about some of the problems we have in this country today.”

She said about 90 percent of the people she talks to on the street support the Occupy movement. “They smile, they wave and they tell us ‘thank you.’ They acknowledge that we are here for them.

“We will succeed,” she said.

The group has been getting about 100 people for its Saturday marches, but had as many as 200 this past weekend, according to Jason Warf, with a dozen or two gathered most of the time during the week and 5-10 overnight.

One of the common themes in Occupy gatherings is student debt, with many of the protesters saying they want to see student debt forgiven. Now, there is a petition, being circulated by MoveOn.org, asking the federal government to do just that. So far, MoveOn claims it has gathered nearly a half million signatures.

From MoveOn’s SignOn.org website:

Forgiving the student loan debt of all Americans will have an immediate stimulative effect on our economy. With the stroke of the President’s pen, millions of Americans would suddenly have hundreds, or in some cases, thousands of extra dollars in their pockets each and every month with which to spend on ailing sectors of the economy. As consumer spending increases, businesses will begin to hire, jobs will be created and a new era of innovation, entrepreneurship and prosperity will be ushered in for all. A rising tide does, in fact, lift all boats – forgiving student loan debt, rather than tax cuts for corporations, millionaires and billionaires, has a MUCH greater chance of helping to rise that tide in a MUCH shorter time-frame. The future economic success of this country is wholly dependent upon a well-educated, prosperous middle class. Instead of saddling entire generations with debt from which there is no escape, let’s empower the American people to grow this economy on their own!

“Oh nice, very good,” Warf said about the MoveOn petition. He said his group did not have specific goals like that, being more focused on wanting to provide a voice to people who haven’t had one in the past.

“We need job growth,” Warf said. He noted that so many people have given Occupy Colorado Springs food and other necessities that they have had to find places to store things.

“Support from the community and from businesses has been amazing,” he said. Business support has included nearby restaurants bringing food to the group and businesses allowing protesters to come in and use restrooms.

He said protesters met with police Monday and were told that if people camp in tents they might be arrested. He said they are negotiating with the city for a long-term permit to occupy the park. He said some people probably will sleep in tents and ultimately may be arrested.

“We’re hoping to be one of the cities that avoids police brutality,” he said, noting that police do allow protesters to sleep in cars parked next to the park. “No problem with that, at all,” he said.

He said there are now more than 2000 occupations around the world. “It’s not just a protest anymore. This is a movement for everyone. We are everyone. we aren’t just liberals, we aren’t just Tea Partiers.”

Warf said the group has plenty of food for now, but needs people to “write to the mayor, write to the city council to support us, and then come out and stand with us,” he said.

Video from AgentofDoubt via Youtube.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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