Occupy Detroit has decisions to make; city wants them gone

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With the permit allowing Occupy Detroit to maintain a camp at Grand Circus Park set to expire Nov. 14, the group has a decision to make.

Do they stay or do they go? And if they go, where will they relocate to?

Those questions will be discussed at a "general assembly" scheduled for noon Saturday, Nov. 12. A decision about what to do will be arrived at through consensus, says Sarah Coffey, manning a spot in the camp’s information center on Thursday.

She says the group has been offered use of a building for office and meeting space. And some people are looking at the possibility of setting up some sort of collective housing arrangement, so a move indoors is possible. It is also possible that some will decide to stay in the park, or find another location to set up camp.

Although they haven’t been told so, says Coffey, the thinking among occupiers is that city officials aren’t too keen on the prospect of a makeshift encampment sitting on the route of the annual — and nationally televised — Thanksgiving Day parade down Woodward Avenue.

In a sense, Detroit’s battered economy provides an opportunity not available to those participating in the Occupy Wall Street protest or other such protests that have sprung up in cities across the country.

“Detroit isn’t New York City,” observes Coffey. “Property is not at a premium here, so we have a lot of options people in other cities don’t have.”

As the movement as a whole continues to form an identity and wrestles with questions about ways to move forward, those participating in the Detroit protest aren’t looking elsewhere for direction.

“We’re not trying to mimic what others are doing,” says Coffey. “As this evolves, we are trying to be visionary.”

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