10:39am

Mon January 9, 2012
Regional Coverage

Occupy Syracuse celebrates 99 days of protest

Occupy Syracuse is marking its first 99 days at Perseverance Park on South Salina Street.  And folks who are carrying the message of Occupy Wall Street expect to keep their tents and lean-tos up for the long haul, despite a potentially cold and snowy winter.

"Our passion will keep us here pretty much through anything that I can see coming, weather-wise," said Caitlin Shanahan, a 20-year old from Mattydale who's been living there since October 3rd.

"16 people currently spend the nights at the Occupy Syracuse location, but many more join them during the day, or after work.  And Shanahan admits that there is no clear goal of the occupy movement, which has a central idea that the distribution of  wealth in this country is unfair.  But she also contends that is part of the movement's strength.

"I really think that the beautiful thing about this is that right now, nobody can put us in a box," she said. "We're not saying 'Ok, we'll go home when...'. We're here to elicit change and that's going to be an extremely muti-faceted process."

Shanahan says the group has not been controversial like some other occupy groups in other city's, because they've found cooperation from police and city hall, and they go out of their way to keep things clean and to not be disruptive to people who work in that part of the city.

"We're making it a big point not to cause any trouble. We're making a big point to make sure it's clean here. We pick up litter that isn't even ours because, well, this is a bus stop and litter collects. So we make sure it's extremely clean. We make sure the tents don't get in the way of the foot traffic , we make sure we're courteous to those using this area for the bus and making sure we're not invading the space of the people we're not fighting against," she said.

The group holds  general assembly's to figure out their strategies.  Among other things, they have become acrive in local issues, most notably against  tax breaks the city of Syracuse has approved for Mall Developer Robert Congel.