FORT MYERS, Fla. - After nearly a week of camping out at Centennial Park, the movement known as Occupy Fort Myers might have to disband. Fort Myers police officers presented the group with a notice to leave the park by 10:30 Thursday night.
Public Works Director Saeed Kazemi says, so far, the group has been unable to purchase the liability insurance needed to secure a permit, which is necessary to assemble in the park after hours.
The group has already spent the night in the park for several days, but Kazemi says the city is requiring a $1-million permit, in case someone gets hurt.
"Otherwise, the city is taking liability of all those people being there after the closure of the park," Kazemi says.
According to Kazemi, a city ordinance says Centennial Park is closed from 10:30 p.m. until 6 a.m.
Those camping out say they have tried to buy insurance but were denied.
"The insurance company said there is basically no way they could put a policy on practicing your constitutional right of general
assembly," says Justin V., an Occupy protester.
Jennifer Keesler, the group's attorney, has written the city, requesting it waive the insurance requirement as it has done for groups in the past. She says even if they could secure the policy, it would be too expensive and would hinder the group's freedom of speech.
If they cannot stay in the park, Keesler says occupiers are requesting the movement take to the sidewalks, where no permit is necessary.
The city has not said what will happen if the group does not leave as asked.