Occupy will never die, proclaimed a member of Occupy Pittsburgh into a camera that was live streaming the day's events. The man didn't give his name. He wore a grey hooded sweatshirt covered in political pins and took a drag from a cigarette before adding, It doesn't end here. It never ends.
Spirits are still high among the members of Occupy Pittsburgh, one of the few remaining factions of the Occupy Wall Street movement with a functioning campsite, despite, or perhaps because of the fact that they are facing a court ordered eviction at 12 p.m. ET Tuesday Feb. 7. Occupy Pittsburgh is currently live-streaming from their campsite and have planned a press conference for noon, the same time as their ordered eviction (all quotes unless otherwise stated are taken from the Occupy Pittsburgh live stream).
On Oct. 15, 2011, 4000 protesters moved into Mellon's green, a park owned by Bank of New York (BNY) Mellon, and renamed the patch of green The People's Park, setting up a community of tents and temporary structures. This was the first time an Occupy faction took land directly from a bank, according to the movement's website.
BNY Mellon responded by filing a lawsuit in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County Pennsylvania, alleging trespassing and the commission of a public and private nuisance. Preliminary injunction hearings took place on Tuesday, Jan. 10 in downtown Pittsburgh. The court sided with BNY Mellon and has ordered the remaining Occupy forces to dismantle their camp and leave the People's Park by noon. This marks the first time that a property owner, whose land was being used by Occupy Wall Street, sued the movement in court to remove the occupiers.
On Tuesday morning Pittsburgh police officers walked through the Occupy site, staking eviction notices into the ground and surveying the crowd.
They're here to see what they're up against, one protested joked.
Despite the air of excitement that is currently taking hold at the People's Park, where protesters speak to television news crews and joke around with one another, many Occupy members believe the Pittsburgh movement will end today. About half of the site's estimated 50 tents were removed over the weekend, according to the Associated Press.
I think that everyone here realizes that after [Monday] the encampment will not be here, said Jeff Cech of Occupy Pittsburgh, according to AP. It's not going to be about trying to hold the ground.
The Occupy Pittsburgh movement has gone relatively unnoticed in the national press, in comparison to the more vocal Wall Street and D.C. factions, or the violent Oakland movement. In the local press, the movement has faced criticism for unsanitary conditions, particularly the claim that rats are being drawn to the People's Park.
While they waited for the inevitable eviction at 12 p.m. one protester spoke calmly into the streaming camera on the subject of animals using the Occupy site as a home.
The media has been talking about rats, he said. We have had no issue ourselves with rats cruising around. We see them and they scatter.
Apparently it's not just a question of a few scared rats.
We also have a couple of birds, he added. One named Werbly was landing on people's shoulders. He would come to General Assemblies and walk around. Chill there and say hello.
Returning to the subject at hand, the protester wondered what would happen next for the movement.
We'll return in the summer, even stronger, said a fellow protester standing beside him. We'll return with 10 or 20 thousand people... and a barbecue pit.