Library Ousts Occupy Bangor Tents From Their Property

Seems like insurance issues trump free speech issues.
BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor Public Library board decided Thursday that, due to insurance liabilities, it must ask Occupy Bangor members to remove their tents, which went up Oct. 27 on library land, director Barbara McDade said Friday.

“We certainly will allow them to use the property to protest, but we don’t want them staying on the property 24 hours a day,” she said. “We’re supportive of the First Amendment, both freedom of assembly and freedom of speech” and “we certainly believe that they have the right to inform people of their views.”

McDade informed Occupy Bangor members of the decision even as they continue discussions about ending their six-week encampment at Peirce Park, member Lawrence Reichard said Friday.

“We have to leave by 8 a.m. Monday,” he said. “The reason is liability and liability insurance. Their insurance carrier wouldn’t cover anything involved with the encampment. The library would be exposed financially and the library would be held accountable.”

Peirce Park is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and protesters have used adjacent library land, which is not city property, during times the park was closed.


>>Seems like insurance issues trump free speech issues.

How is camping free speech? What message is being conveyed? No one is stopping them from holding up signs and conveying a message. How is the first amendment being violated? The insurance is not trumping anything.

I am tired of all the crying wolf about supposed violations of first amendment rights.

I agree this is crying wolf. See what I just wrote, "Library Kicks Out Occupy Encampment."

Illegal Camping Is Not Free Speech

It may seem strange to hear from a libertarian, but free speech has its limits. You certainly should be free to criticize government, which is why we have a first amendment in the first place, but you can't do it anywhere you please. Cities and counties have the same right as people to set limits on how their property is used.

I don't see how setting up an illegal camp on city or county property furthers the OWS cause. In fact, now it seems the issue has switched to the illegal camps themselves as opposed to whatever this was about in the first place. How illegal camping, or confrontation with the police, is going to get the supposed rich 1% to give up their money is beyond me.

In any case, this is not about free speech and never was.

The disallowance of camping at a public park or other public space whose mission does not include overnight stays doesn't inhibit peaceful assembly or free speech. Rather, ordinances that define and preserve the "public" aspect of public spaces do so with the very democratic aim of preventing "our" interests from taking precedence over "your" interests, whoever we and you may be

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