Utica Occupiers Still Holding Their Own Despite Drop In Numbers
Utica, NY (WIBX) - Liberty Bell Park proper sits empty this morning, but members of the group, Occupy Utica, say the movement is still going strong. "We're not going anywhere--we're here to stay, and the more people see that, the more people will show up. You know, we would encourage people to come down here, talk to someone, if you have an issue, bring it up you know, we'll talk to you about it, we'll put it in the mix, you know," said occupier Ken Keplinger, who slept between the buildings behind the park along with a handful of other protesters.
Keplinger says many had to go back to work this morning but says he expects another large gathering this afternoon and over the weekend. "It being Friday instead of Thursday, we do expect a large crowd tonight. We're hoping for a lot more over the weekend. The rain has obviously hampered that a little, but you know, again, we just encourage people to come down," said. Keplinger goes on to say, "We won't put anyone's lives in danger. If it gets too cold for people to be physically safe than we will leave, but beyond that we're out here until literally, Washington and Wall Street listen to us."
When asked about his expectations, Keplinger said, "A positive outcome for me would be to see separation between corporation and state first of all, and for people to just start talking about this." Keplinger and fellow protester Paul Little took refuge from the wind inside their makeshift "Command Center" keeping warm with donated coffee and bagels from local businesses and members of the community who support their cause. Hundreds gathered yesterday in Liberty Bell Park to show their solidarity with other "Occupy " movements taking place across the country. Little said, "I'd like to see the government actually paying attention to the needs and the wants of the average everyday citizens."