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Judge denies Occupy St. Louis attempt to re-establish Kiener encampment

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)
A protestor affiliated with Occupy St. Louis hang a banner protesting the city's curfew ordinance on Friday, November 11. A federal judge has rejected the protestor's request to stop enforcement of the curfew until the case goes to trial.

A federal judge in St. Louis has rejected attempts of Occupy St. Louis protestors to re-establish their encampment in Kiener Plaza.

Attorneys for the protestors, who were evicted from the park early Saturday morning, had asked Judge Carol Jackson to stop enforcement of the city's parks curfew until the case went to trial. Jackson denied that request saying the protestors had not proven they were highly likely to win if the case went to trial.

"The selective enforcement of the city's curfew ordinance is an impermissible violation of the protestor's First Amendment rights," said Joe Welch, an attorney representing the Occupy St. Louis protestors. "Other individuals have stayed in Kiener Plaza and other city parks for an extended period of time. But the difference is, those people didn't have a political message."

Welch said he will appeal today's ruling to the full 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, and hopes for a quick ruling.

"Every day that goes by when the protestors are not out there occupying Kiener Plaza and sending their message, they are harmed irreparably," Welch said.

Mayor Francis Slay's administration has offered to create a "Freedom Square" where protestors could remain 24/7, but not pitch tents. Occupy St. Louis supporters rejected the idea, saying the occupation itself is a crucial part of their protest.

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