Occupy Albany protesters may be rethinking their strategy after over 50 people from their group were arrested this weekend. Now, some Albany occupiers have decided not to spent nearly every night forcing Governor Cuomo to make good on his vow to arrest them if they enter state land after 11p.m.
The city of Albany has allowed the occupiers to camp out in city-owned areas of Academy Park and Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares has said he will dismiss charges against protesters who are non-violent. Governor Cuomo encouraged the state to establish the curfew in nearby state-owned potions of Academy Park in late October as a response to the protests. Since November 12, Bradley Russell has led nightly groups of Occupy Albany protesters to the state-owned section of the park where they are being ticketed with trespass and disorderly conduct after 11 p.m.
According to the Albany Times Union, Russell and other protesters are beginning to rethink putting so much energy and effort into getting arrested.
“At some point it becomes kind of redundant,” Mr. Russell said of the arrests.
Mr. Russell said he initially hoped to “establish a legal test case” about public use of state-owned property in New York. Other protesters told the Times Union they would welcome a new strategy for Occupy Albany.
“Personally I would like to see more of the group’s efforts now going into other actions,” Nicole Higgins said.
“More people are shifting toward doing something more radical,” Holley Newell said, “like going into the Capitol and facing these people.”
Occupy Albany have focused much of their attention toward Governor Cuomo since the protests began October 21. Specifically, the protesters have called attention to the governor’s opposition to the so-called “millionaire’s tax,” which would affect New Yorkers who make over $200,000 per year. Their conflict with Governor Cuomo earned the Occupy Albany encampment the nickname “Cuomoville.”
During an appearance on former governor David Paterson’s radio show Friday, Governor Cuomo reiterated his view that protesters shouldn’t break the law, but also said the occupiers might be able to make changes in Albany.
“The only way to get read change in Albany is from it happening from outside. These external groups that are pressuring for change, if done well, actually can be very helpful to the process and someone such as myself or you when you were governor to bring change to a moribund system that is mired in the status quo,” Governor Cuomo said.
In that same interview, the governor also revealed the protests remind him of his youth.
“Back in the day when we were young and had the energy we both could throw a bomb or two, in a metaphoric sense,” Governor Cuomo said. ”And enjoyed the demonstrations and the protest and reveled in our First Amendment and I think it had an effect.”