One Grand Junction protester is ticketed for sleeping in tent
Several dozen people rallied outside the Mesa County Courthouse for a second day in a row Sunday to protest corporate greed and government bailouts, and protesters vowed to stick around at least through today.
A few people were expected to spend Sunday night on the courthouse lawn and be there when county employees begin showing up for work this morning.
“We’ll be here until the group reaches a consensus on a different course of action,” said Jacob Richards, one of the organizers of the Occupy Grand Junction movement.
As they did Saturday, Grand Junction police officers stood by Sunday and watched as protesters held signs, sat on blankets with toddlers and listened to music blaring from speakers. One man was ticketed early Sunday morning for sleeping in his tent in violation of an administrative order issued by County Administrator Chantal Unfug on Friday prohibiting camping at the courthouse.
Michael Gagne, 47, was issued a summons on suspicion of unlawful conduct on public property. He said he planned to stay at the courthouse again Sunday night and will fight the ticket in court.
“I’m watching people all around me suffering, and we’re supposed to be the greatest nation in the world, but we can’t take care of our own people,” said Gagne, who said he’s lived in Grand Junction off and on for 34 years.
No other incidents were reported.
Richards praised police for their professionalism and patience, saying officers gave protesters advanced notice they would issue tickets to campers and a chance to clear their belongings. He said Gagne was given the choice of being handcuffed and booked at the jail or being ticketed if he voluntarily came out of his tent.
“It’s an example of why communication worked so well on what could have been a tricky situation,” Richards said.
He said 10 to 15 people stayed the entire night at the courthouse Saturday night by sitting on benches or the concrete planters.
The administrative order issued by Unfug only addressed tents, sleeping bags and other camping equipment.
About 60 people marched around several downtown banks Sunday afternoon, differentiating along the way between large, corporate banks that received bailout money and small, locally owned banks.
Richards said area residents and restaurants have offered bathrooms and food to group members.
“I want to create a space for community members of all stripes to come up with plans and courses of actions to solve the many problems we’re facing right now,” Richards said.