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VOL. 35 | NO. 51 | Friday, December 23, 2011




Occupy Nashville tent near gov's office overnight

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NASHVILLE (AP) - At least one member of Occupy Nashville set up a tent not far from the governor's office at the state Capitol overnight.

The tent was in a corner near the south entrance of the Capitol. Gov. Bill Haslam's office is just inside the entrance.

Nobody was in the tent when The Associated Press checked around noon Thursday, and during another check three hours later it had been moved back among others encamped on the state plaza across the street from the Capitol. It was not clear why it moved.

Occupy Nashville protester Ricky Adams, who is among those encamped on the state plaza, said the tent was set up at the Capitol Wednesday night.

He said its occupier tried to get others to come with him, but they didn't think it was a good idea.

"We weren't going up there," Adams said. "I can't see ... throwing gas on the fire."

The governor's office would only say that it was aware of the tent.

Since state tr oopers raided the encampment on the plaza across the street from the Capitol on Oct. 28 and 29 and made 55 arrests, the state has had to back down. Haslam ordered the charges dropped when Nashville courts refused to jail the protesters, and the state isn't fighting a federal court order that found the raids had violated the First Amendment rights of the protesters.

Occupy Nashville has reoccupied the plaza, the number of tents has almost tripled to about 60, portable toilets have been installed and troopers walk a patrol. The protesters, who are now among the larger remaining groups nationwide, say they plan to stay through the winter.

"We're going to stand our ground," Adams said. "This cold weather ... is not going to run us out of here."

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