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Occupy Protesters Face Trial for Trespass
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On Monday, eight Occupy Wall Street protesters went on trial over trespass for scaling a fence at a New York City church lot to create a new base of operations. George Packard, a retired Episcopalian bishop was among those accused for breaking into the Duarte Square, a lot owned by the Trinity Church. The historic Trinity Church is an active Episcopal parish founded in 1697.

The eight persons charged were part of a larger group of about 65 protestors who had been arrested on December 17, 2011 for trespassing on church ground. Apparently, the trespass was the result of an effort to establish a new base after the Occupy protesters were beat up and thrown out of Zuccotti Park in November 2011.

The Occupy Wall Street protests have become iconic in demonstrating the frustration of the common people at escalating economic inequities in America. Systematic persecution of the protesters continues across the country in courtrooms backed by the federal government which dislikes voices of dissent. It is ironic, that while courts are used to persecute dissent by the common people, the same courts are criticized by the Obama administration when they question the validity of Obamacare.

  
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On Monday, Assistant District Attorney Lee Langston did not mince his words while describing the “deliberate decision” of the protesters to violate the rights and property of the church. He said, “On Dec. 17, the defendants decided to take the land over the church’s objection.” It was refreshing for a change to observe how the government’s heart bled for the rights of a church.

Striking a discordant note in the tragic drama ably portrayed by the Assistant District Attorney, the lawyer of the defendants said that the church had leased out the property to a cultural group, which had posted other signs including a sign mentioning the square was “open to the public.”

The real estate lawyer for the church Amy Jedlicka, testified that Duarte Square had been open for summer programs, but by the fall it was closed to the public.

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But the government side wants 90 days prison time for the accused. Mark Adams, who tried to use bolt cutters to cut through the fence has also received the added charge of possessing burglar’s tools – namely, the bolt cutters.





 

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