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Occupy OKC protesters, Oklahoma City officials strike peaceful agreement

Occupy protests across the country have turned violent between participants and police, but Oklahoma City officials say they have maintained a peaceful relationship with protesters.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL, BRYAN DEAN and TIFFANY GIBSON Published: November 17, 2011

An 18-year-old man was found dead in the park on Oct. 31. His cause of death remains under investigation, but no foul play is suspected. A friend of his was arrested on drug possession charges.

“It's important to note that the Occupy OKC movement has been a peaceful one,” Knight said.

“We have maintained an open avenue of communication with the group, and they have done a good job ensuring that their demonstration has remained peaceful. And to their credit, they have kept the park clean.”

Sam Fadei, owner of the Harvey Street Grill, 212 N Harvey, said the Occupy protest is wearing his patience thin.

“It has been inconvenient,” Fadei said. “They are walking around the building, and sometimes they have masks on, ask for drinks. It puts off other customers.”

Oklahoma City Councilwoman Meg Salyer's Ward 2 includes Kerr Park. She said the feedback she received about that protest represents how she thinks city residents feel about the movement.

“The calls were almost 50-50 evenly split,” Salyer said.

She said the aspects of the Occupy protests that concern her relate to sanitation issues related to cooking and using the restroom.

Resident Scott Wallace wrote a letter to Salyer, saying that protesters were drinking liquor and beer and openly smoking marijuana at the park.

“There were dirty, fly-covered dishes strewn about and overflowing trash cans. I found 2-liter soda bottles half-filled with urine sitting outside of tents,” he wrote.

Protesters said they are using bottled water for hygienic purposes and to clean dishes with. There also are portable toilets at the park.

Salyer said city leaders and protest members have been working closely to keep the movement within the law.

“I really think it's been handled very well on everyone's behalf,” she said.