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Occupy SLC protestors to be removed from downtown camp

By Paul Nelson | Posted - Nov. 7, 2011 at 6:21 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — A part of the Occupy Salt Lake City movement is trying to find another place to continue their protest.

The owner of a vacant lot just south of the Salt Lake City Federal Building has asked police to remove the protesters, and police say they have until morning to leave.

Protesters chose the lot at about 150 S. State when they couldn't get city-approved permits, said organizer Skylar Henderson.

"We found out that this was corporate wasted land," Henderson said. It's "wasted," he said, because the company that tore down the previous structure has yet to build anything worthwhile on it that would benefit the local economy.

Protesters liked using the vacant lot, not just because it's so close to the government building, but because it's so close to banks too.

"This land is just sitting here. It's unused. It's not doing anyone any good," said Seth Walker, a protestor with Occupy Salt Lake City.

Walker said he and his fellow protesters were hoping to bring in guest speakers and lecturers to the the lot during the rest of the movement.

Walker said they even cleaned up the litter. "We tried to make the land a little bit prettier than it was," he said.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank said at first, the owner wanted the protestors gone immediately. But Burbank extended the deadline until Tuesday morning.

"This is no different than if somebody were to set up in your front yard. You have the right to ask them to leave your private property," Burbank said.

The police chief said the negotiations with group members have been peaceful, and that the only reason officers are involved is because the property owner asked them to make sure the protestors leave.

As for where they'll go, some group members say they're not sure if they'll find another place, join the other protestors in Pioneer Park, or stand their ground and risk getting arrested by staying on the property in question.


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