The Occupy San Luis Obispo movement is still hanging on by a thread, but after three cease and desist orders from SLO County, its ranks have dwindled.
On the morning of Nov. 18, law enforcement agents delivered a notice to the encampment in front of the San Luis Obispo Superior Court House, telling the campers they’re free to protest but “to engage in free speech and exercise their right to assemble during business hours.”
The notice, penned by County Administrator Jim Grant, cited California Penal Code 647(e), which makes it a misdemeanor to lodge in any public or private building without permission from the owner.
In large, bold, capital letters, the notice told campers, “WARNING: YOU WILL BE SUBJECT TO ARREST AND SEIZURE OF YOUR PROPERTY IF YOU CONTINUE TO LODGE HERE.”
The notice makes the third attempt since Oct. 28 by county officials to prevent overnight camping at the courthouse. Grant told New Times problems with overnight camping haven’t ceased and “it had gone on a little too long, and I think the risk has become unacceptable.”
As of press time, the camp had mostly vacated, aside from a couple of display tents Occupy SLO members have set up for talking with passersby, but not for camping.
No campers had been arrested, but most had simply packed up and left—many people in the Occupy SLO camp are homeless.
Mike O’Connell of Occupy SLO told New Times no arrests had been made, but police shuffled away a few lingering overnighters at about 4 a.m. on Nov. 21.
“The only reported comment that law enforcement made about the ‘display’ canopies under which people were sitting was purportedly, ‘If this gets any bigger we are going to take it down,’” O’Connell said in an e-mail response.
Members of the Occupy SLO camp have been attempting to secure a county permit so they can camp overnight, but have so far been unsuccessful.