Chants of “We are the 99 percent” have returned to the State House.
Occupy Columbia will resume its protest at 5 this evening after emergency rules prohibiting overnight camping on the State House grounds expired.
“The only reason we left was because of the emergency regulations and they now have expired,” said Melissa Harmon, an Occupy Columbia participant who was one of seven people to file suit against the state after being arrested in November. “There’s no law in place saying we can’t conduct our protest in this manner.”
The emergency rules for using the State House and grounds were drafted by the Budget and Control Board in December after a federal judge issued an injunction against law enforcement arrests of Occupy protesters.
The judge determined that there were no rules in place to prevent overnight camping, allowing protesters to continue their 24-hour occupation.
New regulations for the use of the State House property are pending. A bill that establishes rules has been approved by the Senate and is before a House committee. And, the Budget and Control Board has drafted new regulations, which also be approved by the legislature.