Camp Coyote: Where to Now?

(un)Occupy Albuquerque’s Camp Coyote, aka UNM Yale Park, will have to find a new home base. Tuesday night’s arrests drove the local Occupy Wall Street movement from its peaceful occupation of the park.

The group did not go quietly. Chants of “We are the 99%” filled Scholes Hall Tuesday as two movement representatives met with UNM President Schmidly for a half hour without success. Renewal permit denied. Riot police cleared Camp Coyote at night, arresting dozens of nonviolent resisters. During Wednesday’s General Assembly – the group’s consensus process – UNM announced persons associated with (un)Occupy Albuquerque would be barred from Yale Park. On Thursday the park was closed to everyone. So where will the local Occupy movement hold General Assemblies and daytime gatherings? Can (un)Occupy Albuquerque locate a private or public property from which to establish a continuous presence?

Camp Coyote included protest banners, an information kiosk and a kitchen for feeding the homeless. Will the new site be able to include these?

And where will the dozen or so homeless persons who slept at Camp Coyote go? Local overnight shelters are filled to capacity. The City’s emergency overnight shelter, which has space for homeless persons who can pass an alcohol breathalizer test, opens in November. But where will intoxicated homeless persons sleep? Should they be abandoned because they do something the rest of us can do if we wish – drink at home? This is a question which may elicit surprise from many, yet it is a question which will be asked by those concerned with winter deaths of homeless persons sleeping outside.

Finally, will (un)Occupy Albuquerque continue its protests without a home base? Can the movement continue to grow protest events through Facebook and Twitter announcements alone? These questions and others will be decided in future General Assemblies, at a location yet to be decided.

Will Camp Coyote survive? If so, how and where?

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