Whether or not Occupy New Haven emerges victorious from its Wednesday court hearing, the protest movement gets at least 10 more days on the Green.
At a Tuesday afternoon conference about the hearing, U.S. Federal Judge Mark Kravitz told representatives from the movement and the city that Occupy New Haven could stay on the Green for at least an additional 10 days past its current deadline of March 28. Kravitz will hear oral testimony from both sides at tomorrow’s hearing, which will determine the future of New England’s last standing Occupy encampment. He said he gave Occupy the extension because he needed more time to consider the case before issuing a written opinion.
“The city will respect the rule of law, and we hope that the occupiers will do the same,” City Hall spokeswoman Elizabeth Benton ’04 said.
Wednesday’s court hearing comes after City Hall asked protesters to leave earlier this month, following a breakdown in cooperation between the city and the movement. Attorney Norm Pattis filed a last-minute suit against the city and the Proprietors — a centuries-old group that claims ownership of the Green — and successfully convinced district judge Janet Hall to allow protesters to remain where they were until after Wednesday’s hearing.
Pattis said he seeks to prove that the rules governing the Green are uncertain, given the ambiguity between City Hall and the Proprietors’ roles in managing the Green. If there are a clear set of rules, he said he will still argue that they do not comply with the First Amendment.
“The Occupy kids are heroes and hopefully we can keep them on the Green a little longer,” Pattis said.
Protesters originally settled on the Green in mid-October in full cooperation with the city, who provided portable toilets for the encampment.