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Occupied as ever: Protesters continue to persevere in downtown Syracuse

— Despite numerous setbacks from the city of Syracuse, protesters at the downtown Occupy Syracuse site are just as energized on day 127 as they were on day one.

“You can keep pushing and pushing us but we’re still not going,” said protester Jesi Hartz, 26, of Syracuse. “Occupy Syracuse is more than just a little thing. It’s that little pearl in an oyster that grows and grows. We are that pearl.”

On day 108, Occupy Syracuse protesters were ordered to leave their encampment in Perseverance Park.

“We’re going to keep on occupying like any other day,” Ryan O’Hara said the next morning, as protesters waited for the city’s crews to come and remove them. On day 110, O’Hara and six others were charged with erecting structures without a permit in the park at the corner of North Salina and East Washington streets.

On day 122, the Syracuse Urban Renewal Agency passed a resolution banning people from all-night protests at Perseverance Park.

“They’re looking to make us as uncomfortable as possible to make us break,” said Trevor Briggs, 22, of Syracuse. The creature comforts once allowed, like tents, beds and a kitchen, have been taken away from the campers. The group is allowed to be on the sidewalk, as long as they don’t impede traffic. The space is large enough for their table and a few camping chairs.

“It makes us campers very angry and disappointed on how we were treated,” Hartz said. “I’m disappointed that it would come down to this.”

“All it’s done is move us, inch-by-inch, to different spots,” Briggs added.

The campers have no plans to leave the area — you can’t evict an idea, they said. They’ve gained new followers and new supporters since the media blitz surrounding Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner’s eviction order.

“I still think there’s a benefit to having a camp,” Briggs said. “People need to work for change and that’s what we’re doing here. People need to realize they do have a voice.”

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