Occupy Chicago’s Rachael Perrotta said the Occupy the Midwest regional convention had its roots in St. Louis, when area organizers suggested protesters should share skills, participate in actions and create a communication infrastructure to take the movement to a new level.
The event that marks the six-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street will include non-violent actions, meetings and workshops.
Return to Kiener
Occupy the Midwest kicked-off its convention Wednesday with a press conference in Kiener Plaza. Jay Kurtz Jr., of Wildwood, said Kiener has a special place for the local occupiers.
“For a lot of us, that [Kiener] feels like home,” he said.
But the Kiener venue didn’t come without problems. After the organization hanged a large sign, a parks ranger told them they had to take it down if they didn’t have a permit.
Perrotta said Occupiers consider the First Amendment their permit and believe concerned citizens have the right to protest.
Traveling for Protest
Groups from across the country planned to attend the Occupy the Midwest convention. Perrotta said 18 Occupy groups from around the region have endorsed the gathering. She also expected a group from Texas to make the trek to St. Louis.
Members of Occupy Boston already showed up Wednesday afternoon. Mike Hipson traveled from Massachusetts to record video of different Occupy groups. The out-of-towners joined supporters from St. Louis who were at the press conference Wednesday.
Reese Forbes, president of the St. Louis chapter of Veterans for Peace and a former resident of Kirkwood, has been involved with Occupy St. Louis off and on during the past several months. He said the financial issues Occupy addresses overlap with his organization’s concerns.
Zach Chasnoff of Occupy St. Louis said the convention is planning several protest actions. One of those actions, he said, will target Creve Coeur-based . Other actions will focus on economic and ecological issues.
Organizers indicated they will have a total of four non-violent actions during the convention. However they gave few details on the upcoming actions. The convention begins at 10 a.m. on March Thursday.