Power Pulled on "Occupy COMO" Protestors VO/SOT
COLUMBIA - "Occupy COMO" protestors still manned their corner of 8th and Broadway in the cold Thursday, despite no longer having access to the power outlets on the outside of Columbia City Hall.
Communications Director Toni Messina said the outlets were turned off this week as a safety precaution.
"Our exterior outlets are designed for maintenance equipment for the city building--things like snow blowers, leaf blowers, and more. And we believe it posed a safety hazard when a lot of people are using the outlets to plug in their laptops and especially space heaters," Messina said.
Messina also noted the outlets were not designed for public use. But Haley Moreland, a protestor and resident of Columbia who just got back from a trip to the Occupy Washington, D.C. site, wondered if the sudden move to turn off the outlets had more to do with getting the protestors off the city hall's front doorsteps than safety.
"Since they turned off the power, we can't run things out here, obviously," said Moreland. "But I don't think it is as big of a problem as I guess whoever shut off the power thought it would be for us. It isn't that big of a deal to be using a computer outside when we could just go inside where it's a lot warmer and they have table and chairs."
For warmth at night, Moreland and other protestors have started charging a battery pack inside the city hall to then later bring out when the building closes and the dark starts settling in.
"I heard a joke being said, 'Oh yeah, they turned off the power outside, so we'll just go inside and use the power!'" Moreland said. "And soon, they're just going to shut off the power in the front lobby, so we're going to have to start occupying the elevators!"
The protestors said Thursday marked their 47th day at the site. They said they plan on holding a "camp-in" on Saturday, with the hopes of getting as many people as possible to come stay the night.