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.