Staff editorial 11/17: Protesters not making progress

Occupy Wall Street and its sister movements around the country have been a fixture in the news for the past few months. Due to a general lack of progress, protestors have continued to camp out in public places for extended periods of time, and many camps are now dealing with restrictions placed upon them by outside entities.

In Miami, the Occupy movement suffered a setback last week when Miami-Dade County revoked the permit issued to the protestors for sitting in at Government Center. The Miami New Times reported that a spokesman for the county said that the protestors are not getting kicked out of the area; rather, a crane will be moving in to that spot for construction work. The movement will apparently be able to reapply for a permit when the crane leaves.

Similarly, in New York City, Occupy Wall Street is facing intense opposition from the police in recent weeks. Protestors are no longer allowed to use tents or generators at their camp, and police arrested more than 200 people in a surprise raid. BBC News reported that Mayor Michael Bloomberg said this was carried out because of public health and safety concerns.

A New York City judge ruled that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution does not entitle protestors to camp out indefinitely because of reasonable time, place and manner restrictions. Bloomberg believes that protestors are endangering the public and, because they have been taking over public spaces, this is a legitimate possibility.

The Occupy movement has no real organization. There is no leader and no concrete goal. While this country was built on the principle of free speech, we are only free to act and express our ideas as long as we don’t infringe upon the rights of others. Participants of the Occupy movements, while generally nonviolent, are preventing others from using property that they have a right to use and disrupting the operations of nearby businesses.

Everyone has the right to let their voice be heard, Occupy protestors included. However, the movement seems to be all bark and no bite, with little to nothing being accomplished. It is unreasonable for them to remain where they are for an indefinite period of time while essentially being ineffective.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.