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Most Protestors Take Down Tents At Occupy Bloomington Camp

Occupy Bloomington demonstrators remained in People's park 89 days, sleeping in tents and protesting corporate greed among other issues.

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    Photo: Gretchen Frazee/WFIU News

    Occupy Bloomington demonstrators are largely leaving the park without protest.

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    Photo: Ben Skirvin/WFIU News

    Protestors began taking down tents this morning in Bloomington's People's Park.

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    Photo: Ben Skirvin/WFIU News

    Signs and banners lay across the ground where the protesters camp lay.

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    Photo: Ben Skirvin/WFIU News

    A "mobile occupy" vehicle sits at the corner of Kirkwood and Dunn St.

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    Photo: Ben Skirvin/WFIU News

    Occupy Bloomington protesters break camp after being evicted by the City of Bloomington.

Occupy Bloomington protestors largely complied Thursday with a notice of eviction from city officials, tearing down most of the tents and other structures they had built in the city’s People’s Park during the past three months.  Still, several hours after a noon deadline to remove all outside equipment from the park came and went, protestors continued to linger and no police or city presence seeking to remove them was visible.

In fact, Bloomington Parks and Recreation Director Mick Renneisen says the city does not have a concrete plan in place to end the occupation in full.

“That’s fluid.  I think we need to evaluate as the day progresses and beyond that, in consultation with the mayor and the police chief and our parks staff evaluate how that is, how many people are left, how many tents are left,” Renneisen says.  “And we hope that it becomes a peaceful retraction and if it’s not, we’ll have to deal with those decisions as we evaluate the situation.”

Protestors seemed resigned to their move, with many adding that the eviction sheds light on the plight of the city’s homeless population.  Occupier Joseph Callahan says the end of the three-month movement is disappointing, but hopes the protest sends a message to city leaders.

“It’s unfortunate because it kind of goes against what I was really hoping Bloomington represents,” Callahan says.  “Bloomington is a beautiful town and it is a lot farther along than a lot of cities I’ve been to, but that doesn’t give it a free ticket.  I think there’s always room for improvement.”

In all, Occupy Bloomington lasted 89 days.  An e-mail from Mayor Mark Kruzan to city leaders Wednesday night cited the injuries to three police officers near People’s Park on New Year’s Eve as just one reason the camp was disbanded, following weeks of complaints of electrical problems, vandalized city property and human waste found in trash cans belonging to nearby businesses.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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