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Occupy Madison permit not re-issued

Occupy Madison permit not re-issued

  • Updated


City officials temporarily denied Occupy Madison a new street use permit Wednesday after protesters violated public health and safety conditions and failed to follow the correct processes to renew or amend a permit.

The permit, which expired Wednesday at noon, required Occupy Madison protesters to relocate from their current space at 30 West Mifflin Street, also called 30 on the Square.

Mary Carbine, the executive director of the Madison Central Business Improvement District, said a neighboring hotel’s staff voiced concerns about having to recently escort hotel employees to and from bus stops late at night due to inappropriate behavior, allegedly including public masturbation, from people in and around the protest.

In addition, officials agreed further occupation should not be allowed to continue without restrooms on site to avoid further public health violations.

“You can’t be affecting the safety and health of other people around you,” Madison Fire Prevention Officer Jerry McMullen said. “With the public health violations and the complaints I’ve heard, I don’t believe it meets the spirit of the ordinance to a street use permit.”

Occupy Madison representative and street use permit holder Paul Streeter said he hopes to use the 30 on the Square space again as soon as possible after Freakfest.

“[The protest] is indeed a work in progress,” Streeter said. “We will continue to address issues as they comeup.”

Madison’s Parks Division requested a written form stating the dates and location where members wish to occupy.

“You can tell us what your proposals are, but we have no idea what you are doing, how you are doing it or what your safety and security plan is,” McCullen said. “We have nothing in writing to back it up, and we usually require that all events have [written plans].”

Occupy Madison is relocating onto Olin Terrace until Monday when Freak Fest is over, and they can request a new permit for 30 on the Square.

UPDATED Oct. 30: The headline of this article has been changed from "Occupy Madison loses permit" to "Occupy Madison permit not re-issued" for the sake of clarity.

UPDATED Nov. 1: An earlier update mis-attributed the allegations of public safety concerns from a city commission meeting to a Madison parks official. The allegation was, in fact, made by Mary Carbine at the meeting, who said community members had raised concerns about inappropriate behavior by individuals in and around the Occupy Madison protest, not necessarily by the protesters themselves. 

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