As temperatures drop in Indianapolis, the Occupy Indy protesters who remained camped outside the Statehouse will no longer have tents, tarps or sleeping bags to keep warm.
The state Department of Administration, in conjunction with the Capitol Police, issued an order for the protesters to remove all their belongings from the Statehouse grounds by Thursday afternoon. In a letter, the department cites health, safety and sanitation concerns connected to the build-up of materials since the group set up camp about a month ago.
Spokeswoman Connie Smith says the department has been concerned for some time.
“We just felt like it was, with the weather getting colder, there was a chance that more things would accumulate,” she says.
The letter warns protesters that any belongings not removed will be taken and any resistance met with arrest. The few protesters that remain say they will cooperate, but they don’t plan on leaving. Brandon Jones and his fiancé say they will stay on the grounds for a couple more weeks at least, utilizing a “sleeping van” for shelter during the night.
“We will actually take shifts,” he says. “There will be a group of individuals out here for ‘x’ amount of hours and then they switch off with the individuals that have been getting sleep for ‘x’ amount of hours.”
Jones says maintaining a presence outside the Statehouse is the only way those inside the building will know they’re serious.