As the Occupy Phoenix movement ebbs close to its fourth week of protests, demonstrators plan to march to and temporarily occupy Civic Space Park for a day beginning Saturday afternoon.
The group will stay in the park for a one-day event called the Occupy Phoenix 99% UnityFest, which will include 19 live-performing musical and visual artists and a screening of “Under Arpaio,” a documentary critical of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Michelle Ponce, community events coordinator for the park, said she helped coordinate the event with Occupy Phoenix and that no permits were required for the group to use the park.
The march to the park is also in support of Bank Transfer Day, an unrelated event that encourages people to switch from commercial banks to credit unions.
Protesters will begin marching at 1:30 p.m. and walk past Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase Tower, said Diane D’Angelo, a media volunteer for Occupy Phoenix. At some point along the way marchers will publicly shred their credit cards, D’Angelo said.
It is a stand against the banks that were bailed out by American taxpayers while people’s homes were being foreclosed on, D’Angelo said.
“That kind of gesture shows that folks won’t be exploited in that way anymore,” she said.
Arpaio said he had no knowledge of the protest’s plan to use Civic Space Park, but said he has no problem with Occupy Phoenix as long as protesters do not break any laws.
“I’m going to tell you one (thing) — if you do anything wrong, you’re going to my jails,” he said.
Usually, anyone arrested by the sheriff’s department has a mug shot published online, but Arpaio said he would make an exception for Occupy Phoenix protesters, since he does not want protesters to try to get arrested to gain attention.
“I’m not going to put you on the Web where the whole world can see you,” he said.
Brian Harrison, a visual artist from Phoenix, has been volunteering at Cesar Chavez Plaza and will be attending the march.
“The numbers have been very sporadic down here. I would expect a couple hundred, if not more,” he said.
Despite 40 arrests on the protest’s first night, D’Angelo said Occupy Phoenix is a peaceful event, and demonstrators do not wish to have any confrontations with police.
“Most in the Occupy movement know that the police are part of 99 percent as well,” she said.
The Phoenix Police Department was unavailable for comment.
Contact the reporter at email@example.com