© The Associated Press/FBI
Photos provided by the FBI show five men arrested Monday, April 30, 2012, and accused of plotting to blow up a bridge near Cleveland, Ohio, the FBI announced Tuesday, May 1, 2012. Top row, from left, are Douglas Wright, Brandon Baxter and Anthony Hayne. Bottom row, from left, are Joshua Stafford and Connor Stevens.
US - Occupy protesters must ask serious questions about their open-arms policy in light of charges brought against five members accused of trying to blow up an Ohio bridge, a top Cleveland official said Wednesday.
The city declined to renew the group's downtown encampment permit on Wednesday, a denial planned before the bridge plot arrests were announced Monday, said Ken Silliman, chief of staff to Mayor Frank Jackson. The group, which remained by its encampment tent Wednesday night despite a 5 p.m. deadline to leave, can still gather at a spot across the street day or night. Police are monitoring, but no arrests have been made.
The decision was made with the allegations as a backdrop, Silliman added.
"I think a fair question to ask of Occupy Cleveland, is, if you have portrayed your organization up till now as welcome to all-comers - the tent will accommodate anyone and everyone - how does that change when something like the events of yesterday happen?" Silliman said.
"How does that change when some of the people you've welcomed into your decision-making are now accused of such serious felonies?"
That question must be asked even if the city accepts the organization's statements that it is nonviolent and was distancing itself from those charged in the plot, Silliman said.