RICHMOND, Va. (CBS Washington) — Occupy Richmond offered Mayor Dwight Jones an ultimatum Monday night: allow public protest on city property or prepare to be occupied.
The mayor left the meeting before speakers addressed him, so the group took it personally and voted to move into his neighbor’s backyard today.
“We have attempted to function within available legal channels, including the city permitting process, appeals to City Council, and direct negotiations. These have failed us,” a release said.
Neighbor Raymond Boone told CBS Washington that he was rushing home to roll out a welcome mat to protesters, but before leaving, Boone — who is also editor of The Richmond Free Press — said he offered his backyard to practice what he says journalism preaches.
“It’s comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable,” Boone said. “We’re living up to our mission.”
Boone called Jones a good neighbor whose political position keeps him from openly empathizing with protesters. The Free Press endorsed Jones, but Boone added that he’s always been more cordial to big business than the common man.
Occupy Richmond’s release said the movement didn’t move to spur action from the mayor but instead positioned itself to interact with the mayor at his convenience.
“Our intent is to make ourselves available should the Mayor choose to engage with us in a diplomatic manner rather than simply ignoring us or raiding our camp.”
Calls to the mayor’s office and his press secretary were not returned.
Speaking to protesters Tuesday afternoon, Boone said, “Richmond should be proud that you are part of a movement for the betterment of the world.”
Witnesses at the scene report police supervision of the properties.