Mayor says Occupy Lubbock protesters can stay - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Mayor says Occupy Lubbock protesters can stay

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

While the Occupy Wall Street protesters have been evicted from Zuccotti Park, the protesters of Occupy Lubbock have been given a green light by Mayor Tom Martin.

"The land at 19th and University is street right of way, it's not a park. So there is no curfew on that particular piece of property. The people that are engaged in the Occupy Lubbock movement are exercising first amendment rights," Martin said.

Martin said the protesters will be allowed to stay "as long as it's not being torn up and as long as they're not causing a disturbance."

But at least one local business would like the protesters to move on.

Staybridge Suites is right next door to the protest. The owners say they've lost several customers because of the protest and have complained to the police multiple times about protesters using their facilities. Police say they have received less than ten complaint calls from the public.

There are less than a dozen protesters at the 19th Street location, but they say they're in it for the long haul. They built their tent city a month ago and are making time in their work and school schedules to maintain it.

Protester Andrew McMillan said, "I do have a job with the radio station and I am a full time Tech student graduating in June."

The Occupy Lubbock group is determined to get its message out, using social media and making signs - using donations and their own money to maintain a presence 24/7.

Protester Matt Fouss said, "I just got paid on the 10th, spent about $60 dollars on sign making supplies and brought a printer out here so we can start this faces of Lubbock billboard."

The protesters are concerned about income inequality and are determined to drive the corporate influence out of politics. They have contacted Congressman Randy Neugebauer and have received responses from his assistants, which they hope will help.

"When the annual average income of the bottom of 90 percent is $31,000, meanwhile the top 1 percent annual average income is $1.13 million, there is a problem. That's a huge gap. It creates this illusion that people can climb their way up the ladder, when in reality it's not possible," McMillan said.

Winter is coming on fast, but the protesters have winterized tents and generators. They say they're prepared to stay.

Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11

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