I’ll be live-blogging the Occupy Lansing event in Lansing, Michigan today. One thing that sets this particular event apart from many of the others is that the mayor of Lansing, Virg Bernero, is in total support of it. He has sent portable toilets, garbage dumpsters and given the protesters a permit without an expiration date to protesters at Reutter Park where the encampment started earlier this week. Here’s his Facebook update from Wednesday:
Our political system has become increasingly corportized, privatized and profitized by the filthy rich. The unholy alliance of Washington and Wall Street have conspired against regular folks to all but obliterate the American Dream and bastardise our democracy. Thank God the people are fighting back! America must be a place of opportunity for ALL, not just the few at the top. I welcome Occupy Wall Street to Lansing, Michigan.
According to reports, the Lansing Police Department will be leaving protesters alone.
Porsche Santillo’s fired up about Occupy Lansing.
“We’re mad as hell, and we’re not gonna take it any more,” she said.
But she’s no stranger to protests at the Capitol…
She’s among many in the crowd who say Mayor Virg Bernero told them they wouldn’t be arrested for protesting.
“He said we could stay as long as we need to and that Lansing Police wouldn’t harass anyone,” said Santillo.
Lansing Police Chief Teresa Szymanski has since said she made that call. In any case some Occupy Lansing protesters feel the city is on their side.
“If not support, they’re not getting in the way,” said protestor Benjamin Butler.
Bernero even appeared on The Ed Show on MSNBC on Thursday and voiced his support.
ED SCHULTZ: Joining me tonight is the mayor of Lansing, Michigan, Virg Bernero, who has been talking about the middle class ever since I met this man. He
has been one of the fighters, one of the pioneers to say the middle class is under attack in this country.
Virg has attended the “Occupy Lansing” event. Is this “Occupy Lansing” a middle class movement?
Virg, good to have you with us tonight.
MAYOR VIRG BERNERO (D), LANSING, MICHIGAN: Great to be here.
Ed, you are such a patriot in every sense of the word. You sent a chill down my spine. I hope every American can get the message that you’re sending. You are right on.
The Tea Party hijacked America’s anger. The anger from the melt down, they hijacked it. They perverted it, and that was not the real deal.
This movement is the real revolt. This is the real deal. This is our chance to restore the American Dream. That`s what`s at stake. That`s what was taken from us.
This unholy alliance of Washington and Wall Street hasn’t served average Americans very well and they are rising up. It started in New York. It spread. And now it is in Lansing and I welcome it in Lansing, Michigan.
And I urge Americans who care about the American Dream and believe that the American Dream should be for everybody, not just the few at the top, this is your chance. If you’re a teacher, a policeman, a street worker, a you sewer worker, or you’re unemployed, a student — I don`t care — as long as you`re not one of the filthy rich at the top that don’t give a damn about anybody else, this is your fight. This is our struggle to restart American Dream. It’s time to get Wall Street out of the middle of the economy and get them on the sidelines where they belong, and get a democracy restored that works for Main Street.
This level of support from a city mayor in appears to be unique.
Stop by throughout the day for photos and reports from Lansing.
The occupation of Reutter Park:
Getting ready to head to the Capitol:
On the Capitol steps:
Radio host Tony Trupiano emcees with a megaphone provided by Lansing Virg Bernero:
Ann Arbor Education Association prez Brit Satchwell:
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero welcomes Occupy Lansing protesters:
11:00 on a cold windy day and several hundred folks gather:
Large but unnecessary State Police presence at the Capitol:
Several hours into the protest and still several hundred people at the Capitol. I’m heading out but the event continues…
There’s a new wind blowing through (occupy)Lansing!