Reported by: Abbie Alford
Updated: 9:21 am Published: 11/03 8:31 pm
Occupy Tulsa protesters are back at it. Ten more protesters were arrested late Thursday night.
It was a peaceful arrest and for the second night no pepper spray was used. City code says park hours close at 11 p.m.
Thursday night, Tulsa City councilors refused to vote on a permit to waive the park curfew at Centennial Green in Downtown Tulsa.
As many as 50 protesters showed up at City Hall Thursday night to petition the council for a permit that would wave fees and hours.
"We have been treated as criminals,” says Occupy Tulsa protester Daniel Lee.
One councilor cites the Bill of Rights and says free speech can be limited and restrictions are content neutral.
"Respectfully I disagree that your free speech rights are absolute,” says Councilor Rick Westcott.
Another councilor advises to have better credibly and abide by the law until they get a chance to vote on the permit.
“Do it legally and you are not helping your cause and you are taking valuable time away from the police officers that really could be doing something better for the city,” says Councilor Bill Christiansen.
When it came down to business, councilors say park representatives made it really tough to make a decision.
"I am disappointed no one from the Parks department is here to answer questions,” says Christiansen.
Without a person from the Parks Department, Chairman Councilor Maria Barnes says their hands are tied.
"We're not trying to be obstacles here,” says Barnes.
Councilors say they can’t pick and choose to waive fees and hours for protesters such as Occupy Tulsa.
"We need to make sure what we do for them we do for everyone,” says Councilor Jack Henderson.
Some Tulsans spoke against Occupy Tulsa believing it’s a slippery slope.
“I would request that you vote against any waivers until they follow proper procedures,” says Randy Harris.
The attorney from City Legal says the group’s appeal is moot.
“The Parks Department issues permits for special events all the time it’s a daily occurrence for groups, families, clubs, companies to use parks for their events. This group on the face of it shouldn't be treated any differently it seems that their application process is not complete yet," says Mark Swiney. "
The City Council will discuss the issue next Thursday when it meets for its weekly meeting.
Tulsa Police say they plan to be out there every night if the protesters plan to be at the park after hours.
Tulsa Police Captain Jonathan Brooks says Tuesday night 25 officers who were on a scheduled shift responded and about 10 were on standby from specialty units.
On Wednesday, Brooks says 40 officers responded, 18 were from specialty units on standby and worked overtime.