City kicks Occupy Lawrence protesters out of South Park

LAWRENCE | Members of Occupy Lawrence say they will continue to work for the protest movement but will not spend much time in a city park after police told them they could no longer camp there.

The group was evicted from South Park on Tuesday by officers who were enforcing a city ordinance that prohibits parking in the park from 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. Police told the group members they could be arrested and have their belongings confiscated if they didn't leave, The Lawrence Journal-World reported.

The eviction was calm and did not involve any confrontations, said Dory Mills, a member of the group.

"They were very respectful," Mills said. "At first they gave us five minutes, but they let us have more time. It took about an hour."

On Tuesday evening, several members of Occupy Lawrence attended a city commission meeting to ask for help in finding a new place — preferably near downtown — that could accommodate their camp.

Mayor Aron Cromwell said the city was unlikely to help, saying he had concerns about safety when groups camp in parks.

"I think this discussion of Occupy Lawrence has turned into a conversation of whether I can camp in a park overnight," Cromwell said. "It really has taken over the movement. I think some of the effort you're spending on this issue should be focused on accomplishing some of the goals that you have."

After the meeting, members of the group voted to "continue doing whatever we can for the movement," member Jason Phoenix said. They made tentative plans to hold general assemblies every evening in the park but would not camp or send extended time in the park, he said.