A police supervisor on the phone
Between 200 and 250 protesters have hunkered down in Kanawha Plaza tonight as part of the Occupy Wall Street movements protests. When I left the plaza at 10:00pm EST a meeting was still underway to arrange for things like food, medical services, and education. The police presence at the event was tiny, and before I left the handful of officers that were there pulled out. Richmond police officers have better things to do than harass peaceful protesters on a Saturday night when they need to control the crowds coming out of the Richmond FOlk Festival and the normal weekend crowd in Shockoe Bottom. The level of crime and violence in Shockoe Bottom is a much bigger priority for RCPD.
The larger question is whether the protesters will be allowed to stay beyond the weekend or will the mayor come under pressure to have them removed. One police officer watching the event reportedly quipped that the protesters had more to fear from cold weather than the Richmond police--a comment that suggests a long occupation stretching into the winter months.
WTVR-6 has a camera van on site
The protesters are in the Northeast part of the park
Richmond police observe the demonstration
A meeting in progress
A sampling of signs
Another angle on the crowd
Police presence was small