Occupy New Haven protest on Green coming apart at the seams (document)

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Sparro Kennedy ties a knot on a structure shes building at the “occupy” scene on green at College and Chapel late Friday afternoon March 30,2012. Sparro was being helped in the endeavor by Matthew Osborne and Brendan Boyazi and at least five other pssersby offered to lend assistance. VM Williams 03.30.2012

NEW HAVEN — While several attorneys are fighting to keep the Occupy New Haven encampment on the Green, several members of the group said the Occupy movement has started to collapse.

Dozens of people make up Occupy New Haven — some who pitched a tent on the upper Green on Oct. 15, 2011, the day the movement started. But names and faces have changed since the movement began, so much so that a handful of the protesters said the cluster of tents on the Green is basically a homeless encampment now.

Occupier Matt Osborne said that, at this point, the local movement consists of “20 percent infiltrators, 20 percent tourists, 20 percent aberrant people, 20 percent unemployed people working for change and 20 percent semi-professional, professional organizers.”

“There is always tension in a community and this is a new community,” he said. “We know we are making mistakes, but we’re learning.”

Jimmy Ferrara, another protester, said it’s not just about tension within the group, the real issue is that the people in the group have changed.

“The Occupy movement is basically gone,” he said. “People are drinking and starting problems. There is a lot of drug abuse and a lot of the big bosses left.”

According to the city’s brief filed in court, police have responded to nine calls regarding “a drunk person” during the occupation. The city said that crime overall has increased on the Green as a result of the occupation. According to the brief, there previously was an average of about 20 calls for police service on the Green during the time of year and the months occupiers have been on the Green. But since the occupation began, police have received 52 calls for service.

Occupier Alex Suarez described an environment in which some of those in the encampment were there for reasons other than the protest. He said some of the people in the encampment have used substances like marijuana, crack cocaine and alcohol despite their “good neighbor policy,” which embraces an environment free of drugs and alcohol.

Several days ago, three occupiers described as “movers, shakers, doers and leaders” of Occupy left camp. Ben Aubin, Tommy Doomsday and Josh Heltke are no longer sleeping at the encampment.

When asked about the divisiveness reported at the Occupy encampment, Aubin said, “Our commitment to New Haven is still quite strong. And what we have done is formed affinity groups, which are tight-knit, small groups of people who decide things by consensus in their area. With that said, I do believe the camp is an essential part of the Occupy movement.” Continued…

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