The march that Occupy Hartford has planned for Saturday has provoked Mayor Segarra to issue a press release for the occasion:
"It has come to my attention that Occupy Hartford is coordinating a large march and rally on Saturday and is inviting fellow Occupy movements from around the region to join them. I fully appreciate and respect the right to assemble, protest and petition one’s government and I have consistently instructed City departments and employees to treat all “Occupiers” with the utmost respect. That order continues to stand.
"Nevertheless, as Mayor, I have a responsibility to ensure public health and safety and I have directed city staff to regularly meet with and ensure the safety of participants and the community. In turn, Occupy Hartford has demonstrated that they recognize that open flames and kerosene heaters are not permissible, while also attempting to keep the site as sanitary as possible.
"It is my expectation that Saturday’s event will preserve the respectful and understanding relationship that has been built.
"As we continue our efforts to return to normalcy after a historic and horrific snow storm, I sincerely hope that no one – whether from Hartford, the region or visitors from out of state – believes that Saturday’s event should represent a migration away from a very important message to instead attempting to create a hostile or confrontational situation with public safety personnel. Connecticut’s Capital City will not tolerate selfish, belligerent or antagonistic behavior; it is not befitting of this effort or the residents who have been so accommodating throughout."
Since the beginning of the “occupation” in Hartford, members of the community, and now the Mayor, have been urging activists to calm down and show respect for those who actually occupy the city of Hartford all year round. Most have been level-headed and cordial, but some of the activists involved have been on edge, and occasionally antagonistic, toward City personnel who have been providing activists with health and safety advice.
One wonders if there is a Miss Manners for activists. If not, there ought to be one to dispense with useful advice like (1) above all else, respect the community. You are guests. (2) Learn about the structure of City government and how the particularly city you are in supports activists. Hartford is not the same as Oakland. It’s not New York City. It’s not Boston. It’s Hartford. Learn how Hartford typically deals with protest before jumping to any conclusions. (3) Respect the workers.
Reprinted with permission of Kerri Provost, author of the blog RealHartford.
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