by Curt Guyette
A forced eviction was forestalled Monday when the permit allowing demonstrators to occupy Grand Circus Park expired. Tuesday afternoon, hearing a request from Occupy Detroit to have more time to relocate, the Detroit City Council gave protestors until Nov. 21.
They had asked the council for a two-week extension, but said they were satisfied with the decision. The process of tearing down the camp has already begun. A donated storefront in southwest Detroit will serve as a base of operations.
One of the main difficulties, said attorney John Royal, president of the local chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, is finding shelter for about 50 homeless people who have been staying at the camp. Yesterday, attorney Julie Hurwitz, also part of the NLG team that has been providing legal assistance to the Occupy movement, told council that police have been dropping homeless people off at the site.
The one week extension — rather than the two weeks that had been sought — didn’t surprise protestors, some of whom said previously that the city didn’t want the park during the nationally televised Thanksgiving Day Parade, which moves down Woodward, cutting through the Grand Circus Park protest cite.
But the removal of the camp does not necessarily mean that the occupiers are completely abandoning the park.
“We anticipate that there will continue to be demonstrations at Grand Circus Park,” Royal told Metro Times.
Throughout the discussions taking place the past two days before council, all involved praised the process, citing the cooperative attitude that has existed between both protestors and the authorities.