Members of the Occupy Little Rock movement are not taking kindly to comments made by Ward 1 Director Erma Hendrix at Tuesday's City Board of Directors meeting.
"You know, it's really annoying to me, Ward 1, that everyone dumps their garbage in Ward 1," she said. "I think it's unfair they're there."
That reference to garbage in her ward came after Director Gene Fortson had posed a question asking how long the Occupy permanent encampment would be allowed to remain, citing he had received emails and phone calls from residents concerned about it.
Over the phone, he told KARK he never intended to undermine the group's right to protest, recognizing that as a freedom afforded by the Constitution. However, he did say he doesn't believe anyone envisioned the camp being a permanent fixture to go on indefinitely. And during the meeting he pointed out that he didn't know how long the city should allow the camp to remain, especially now that it was "unclear what exactly they are protesting".
Hendrix added her comments after the question had been posed and City Manager Bruce Moore told the board a plan to move forward was being developed by his staff.
Hendrix's comment has fired up the encampment near Interstate 30, which counts among its members a dozen veterans and several folks who actually live in Hendrix's own ward.
To Occupiers, it's a matter of history repeating itself in the 21st Century in a city known for civil rights struggles.
"In the beginning of the 20th century there were women marching with signs wanting the right to vote. And it's a good thing we didn't say get that garbage out of here," Occupier Adam Lansky said. "I remember a time in that same century an entire race of people sitting around wanting to eat in a restaurant or sit on a bus. It's a good thing we didn't tell them get that garbage out of here."
"We are a political group that is searching for the betterment of all citizens," another citizen.
But Occupiers are not upset with one statement Hendrix made.
"They're headed this way," she said of Occupiers.
Because their plan of attack to respond to questions about their mission and the caliber of their members: move their occupation over to City Hall.
"On Tuesday, February 28, from 4 -6 p.m. we're going to gather outside City Hall with our signs, saying our chants. It's a show of full force. It's D-Day," Lansky said.
Occupiers have no intention of disrupting the meeting, describing the turn out as an intended show of support for Occupy Little Rock. But they do plan to send five "diplomatic representatives" into the meeting to respond to the Board of Director's previous comments and move forward in a discussion about what comes next.
Occupiers have obtained a permit to be at the current location. The permit is open ended with no termination date officially applied.
As for services on hand, Occupiers do pay for their own portable potty's, have official no drug or alcohol use rules, and they generate their own electricity through solar panels.