Colorado state Sen. Greg Brophy blasted Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper for failing to remove the “Occupy Denver” protesters who have been camping at the state Capitol since September 22.
“When you have a failure of leadership bad things happen,” Brophy wrote in a column on a conservative blog. “The moment the first tent was allowed on the Capitol grounds we had the initial failure in leadership. Now, there are reports of upwards of 40 tents and there is no end in sight to the flaunting of the law.”
He warned that “a smelly hippie who wants to make a name for himself” could end up hurting a state trooper if the governor failed to act immediately.
When a local radio host questioned him about the “smelly hippie” portion of his column, Borphy said sometimes it was “fun to utilize all the words in the English language to catch people’s attention,” and then talk about the real problem.
As corporations enjoy near record profits and Americans face staggering unemployment, the protesters set up dozens of tents at Veteran’s Memorial Park as part of a demonstration against economic inequality and corporate influence on the government. Hundreds of people join the protest during the daytime.
Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said in a joint statement Wednesday night that they were working “to find a solution that balances Occupy Denver’s First Amendment rights with growing concerns around public safety.”
After speaking with the “Occupy Denver” protesters Thursday morning, Hickenlooper said he sympathized with their demonstration, but added it was “illegal and unsafe.”
Tension between the protesters and public officials is likely to increase. The “Occupy Denver” encampment conflicts with a U.S. Naval Reserve event scheduled to be held in the park on Saturday and another event honoring fallen soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the protesters have no intention of moving and have requested a waiver that will permit the encampment to continue.
“Occupy” demonstrations around the country have encountered various levels of support from public officials.
The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to support the movement and “Occupy Chicago” protesters have kept an open line of communication with local police.
In contrast, police in Boston arrested 141 protesters early Tuesday morning at the Rose Kennedy Greenway in one of the biggest mass arrests in the city’s history.
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said he supported the goals of the demonstration, but that protesters had crossed the line by blocking rush-hour traffic and expanding their campground to a newly renovated area without a permit.
The “Occupy Wall Street” protesters in lower Manhattan had been allowed to camp at Zuccotti Park, but that changed Wednesday when Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the demonstraters would have to vacate the park on Friday for cleaning.