Nov 272011
 
Authors: Jason Pohl

Colder weather and the holidays may be bigger enemies for Occupy Fort Collins than the big banks and the 1 percent.

Since its move from Old Town to a park near Dairy Queen just south of Prospect Road, participation in the local occupy movement has stalled, according to some protesters.

Saturday’s meeting, which usually sees the largest crowds, drew only a handful of supporters. But despite fewer participants at the daily general assemblies, and suspension of overnight stays, supporters of the movement maintain that the core messages remain.

“The issues haven’t gone away,” said Jerry Gerber, 49. “I don’t think the message has changed.”

The Fort Collins resident added that, despite lower attendance, people continue to funnel through the new demonstration site, which was chosen because of increased visibility and requests from owners of buildings near the previous site.

As many as 20 people have been known to occupy Creekside Park at one time.

Those affiliated with the group have pooled resources together to rent a nearby storage unit for signs and supplies. Additionally, efforts are being made to make the site more “family and pedestrian friendly.”

“We are still alive with the national movement,” Gerber said.

Throughout the day, people come and go to the park to hold and make signs, encouraging passing motorists to support the movement. One protester, who asked to remain unnamed, said that more than 200 people have come through the Fort Collins movement.

The protester added that the support is there, and that people just have to “hang on through the winter” across the country.

Zach Heath, 33, said he can only show his support a few hours each week when he isn’t at work, but he said the main issues haven’t changed for him at all.

“It’s about the system-wide inequality and poverty,” he said, stressing the importance of helping the less fortunate and the homeless through the winter months.

“It makes me wonder what our priorities really are,” he said regarding proposed federal budget cuts to disadvantaged groups. “People are not worthless.”

Since the move the Fort Collins movement has formed about six “working groups,” which facilitate necessities among those participating in the movement.

A food working group provides hot meals to those standing on the corner spreading the message against corporate greed and inequality.

Additionally, a local issues working group has been developed to deal with community topics, including the eviction of residents in a Fort Collins mobile home park. The group will be meeting Monday in Behavioral Sciences room 119 at 4:30 p.m., according to Gerber.

The Fort Collins movement is a spin-off of the larger Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York, which began Sept. 17 in the form of a few people making a statement by camping in Zuccotti Park.

Since then, demonstrations have appeared around the country consisting of people of all income levels, job statuses, ages and beliefs hoping to make a statement about the 1 percent of people holding a disproportionate amount of the wealth in the country.

To learn more about the Fort Collins group, search for Occupy Fort Collins on Facebook, or visit www.occupyfortcollins.org.

Senior Reporter Jason Pohl can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:05 pm

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