Iowa’s Republican governor says he really doesn’t understand the demands of protesters who tried to occupy the state capitol grounds overnight.
The City of Des Moines gave “Occupy Des Moines” protesters until tomorrow to move out of a city park near the capitol where they’d been situated since October. The group staged a march out of the park Sunday. Ten protesters were arrested overnight when they stayed past 11 p.m. in a grassy, park-like area to the west of the statehouse. Governor Terry Branstad says state troopers will “continue to enforce the law” and arrest any protesters who try to camp overnight on the statehouse grounds.
“The capitol is a place where people can speak their mind and express their concerns, but it’s not a campground,” Branstad told reporters this morning.”They had a three-day permit earlier and they violated that and were arrested.”
That incident was in October, when the Occupy Wall Street movement was just beginning. A former state legislator, a long-time peace activist and staff involved with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement have been leading “Occupy Des Moines” activities. A reporter asked Governor Branstad this morning if he understands what the movement is seeking.
“No, I really don’t,” Branstad says. “…There was a group that was here the very day that I presented the State of the State address and they did present a letter of various concerns they have a number of issues and we have reviewed that as we do with any correspondence we receive from any citizen.”
Activists jammed the statehouse rotunda and chanted at Branstad as he made his way from his office to the Iowa House where he delivered the annual “State of the State” address. The group complained Branstad’s staff had blocked the public from sitting in the House galleries by reserving seats for elementary school students and other invited guests who were at the statehouse to hear Branstad’s speech.
AUDIO of Branstad’s weekly news conference.