It’s the fifth day of Occupy Delaware’s protest movement, and the group is getting support for its efforts to remain at Wilmington’s Peter Spencer Plaza.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware late Tuesday questioned the city’s demand that Occupy Delaware pay a $200 permit fee to continue staying in Spencer Plaza, which is across from Wilmington’s city and state government buildings. The group has removed its belongings from the plaza to steps and sidewalks adjacent to the plaza.
“City of Wilmington officials cannot make up the rules as they go along in an attempt to restrict or shut down the Occupy Delaware protests,” ACLU of Delaware Executive Director Kathleen MacRae said. “City ordinances clearly do not ban tents on Spencer Plaza.” MacRae added that the language of the city ordinance regarding fees for the use of city parks is “so ambiguous and broad that it can be interpreted to mean that I could be charged a fee for walking across Rodney Square during my lunch hour.”
City officials late Monday revoked a conditional permit for the use of Spencer Plaza when Occupy Delaware failed to pay the permit fee. Mayor James Baker, in a statement, said “the city’s overtime costs for police coverage related to Occupy Delaware are now approaching approximately $25,000.”
Occupy Delaware began Saturday at Wilmington’s Fletcher Brown Park before relocating to Spencer Plaza. Members rejected a permit to stay overnights at nearby Brandywine Park, although the state was willing to waive any fees.