Economy
8:23 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Pittsburgh Remains “Occupied” as Eviction Deadline Comes and Goes

Occupy Pittsburgh had until noon Monday to clear out tents and other structures from the BNY Mellon Green downtown, which they've dubbed "The People's Park."

In issuing the eviction order Thursday, Allegheny County Judge Christine Ward ruled no law "permits a group of people to take over someone else's private property." But at noon, a few tents remained and a new structure, made of wooden pallets, had been built. A large crowd of Occupy supporters gathered to show support for the movement. One of them was 94-year-old George Edwards who didn't live at the camp because of his age, but he said he fully supports the movement and what the camp represents.

"You're 99% too, so all of us 99% have to work together to make change in our country," he said.

As members gathered to talk to the press, some campers worked to take supplies out of the tent to an undisclosed location. Nobody would say whether or not there were talks to open another encampment, or whether people planned to stay on the green until forcibly removed. An hour after the noon rally, no law enforcement officers had approached the camp.

Regardless of what happens downtown, most members agreed the Occupy Pittsburgh movement was not over. Several upcoming events are planned to push for better health care and transit options for the 99%.

"It's a seed that's been planted to build a forest, and this forest is going to grow big. The conversation has already changed here, and is going to continue changing," said Sammy Lee, who has been with the movement since day one.

There is one more step in the legal process before authorities can go in to physically remove Occupiers. Law enforcement officials were nowhere to be seen during the movement's noon rally and about an hour afterward. BNY Mellon has declined to comment on what their next course of action will be.