Police, Protestors Prepare for Occupy Lansing

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

Porsche Santillo's fired up about Occupy Lansing.

"We're mad as hell, and we're not gonna take it any more," she said.

But she's no stranger to protests at the Capitol. She was there in mid-march when LPD cops were called away from dealing with rowdy demonstrators.

"They disappeared. They, just all of a sudden, they were gone," Santillo recalled. "All we saw were State Police. We saw no more city Lansing Police."

She's among many in the crowd who say Mayor Virg Bernero told them they wouldn't be arrested for protesting.

"He said we could stay as long as we need to and that Lansing Police wouldn't harass anyone," said Santillo.

Lansing Police Chief Teresa Szymanski has since said she made that call. In any case some Occupy Lansing protesters feel the city is on their side.

"If not support, they're not getting in the way," said protestor Benjamin Butler.

"We asked Lansing Police if they would again pull their officers from the Capitol. That they wouldn't answer, but they did say if MSP calls for help, they will respond.

"We work hand in hand all the time and I have absolute confidence anything we need from LPD or any of our partners, we'll have that assistance," said F. Lt. Chris Kelenske of MSP.

Protesters we talked to aren't worried about the police being there. They just want their message heard.

"I'm interested in bringing the wall street criminals to justice who basically tanked our economy and the world's economy into a downward spiral," said Rob Powell, who's eager to particpate Saturday.

"The same people who keep getting richer keep telling us to get a job. There are no jobs! It's over. It's done. Give us some jobs," said Butler.

The Occupy Lansing rally begins tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the Capitol.

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