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Occupy Santa Cruz Returns with Tent Mob, So Do Police
On July 6th, community members involved with Occupy Santa Cruz carried tents, snacks, and balloons downtown for a roving "Tent Mob" street party. According to the event announcement, the group wouldn't be, "re-camping in the park for a month," or, "occupying a bank building." They planned instead to claim the Public Commons temporarily, because they feel as private space increases, access to public space is decreasing and, "there are no places outside for houseless folks to sleep legally." After spending some time together in Laurel Park, the location of the first Occupy Santa Cruz general assembly, they took the roving Tent Mob to Pacific Avenue and spent time among the street musicians, movie goers, and assorted other Friday evening revelers, where they hoped to, "demonstrate our inalienable rights.. and have some fun doing it."
Approximately two dozen people participated, and the group switched off carrying four or five compact tents that were fully constructed, some of which were decorated with purple, helium filled balloons. Curious members of the public asked the group a variety of occupy-related questions and took pictures of the tents and of the Occupy Santa Cruz banner. Some of the kids passing by asked to play in the tents, and they were happily obliged.
At the corner of Cooper Street and Pacific Avenue the Tent Mob stationed itself near another large group of people, the band Kuzanga Marimba, who were playing marimbas whose sizes were comparable to those of the tents. When the Tent Mob decided to leave that location and return to Laurel Park for a discussion about their day, they handed out the balloons they had been displaying to children who were nearby.
The Tent Mob event announcement was fairly straight forward in its language that the occupation would be temporary, stating, "wherever we stop, that's where the tent party is. We'll occupy that spot for a time and then move on."
The Santa Cruz Police Department, however, kept tabs on the street occupiers, who reported interactions with an officer on Pacific Avenue who spoke with them on multiple occasions to confirm that the tents were not blocking pedestrian traffic.
The officer made contact with the group one last time as the Tent Mob returned to Laurel Park at about 8pm. He warned them that they would have to deal with security guards from First Alarm at some point if they were still there after the park's closing.
This was the second Tent Mob event for Occupy Santa Cruz where the intention to participate in a "lite" occupation was met with a police presence. For more information about the previous Tent Mob event on May 25th, see:
Occupy Santa Cruz Celebrates Past Successes with TENT MOB at Court House
For more information about Occupy Santa Cruz, see:
Returning to Laurel Park
SCPD, OSC, Laurel Park
SCPD, Laurel Park