Occupy Chattanooga members want to join in county legal action - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Occupy Chattanooga members want to join in county legal action

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CHATTANOOGA -

(WRCB) -- One week after Hamilton County went to federal court, taking the first steps to get the Occupy Chattanooga protesters off of the courthouse lawn,  the occupy protestors are answering in person, rather than on paper.

County Commissioners are asking a federal judge to declare that new rules, for who can use government land, and how, won't violate the free speech rights.

But some protestors, not named in the suit, now want to be part of it, even if they have less company in their tent encampment.

Robert Thompson, Beth Foster, and four others claim they are the John and Jane Does whom the Hamilton County Commission has un-named in its federal lawsuit.

But before they sign on whatever dotted line, Thompson offered commissioners a civics lesson.

"You can't pass a retroactive ordinance, such as requiring Occupy to get a permit to demonstrate, after members began occupying," he explained.

Even so, they worry about sheriff's deputies forcibly evicting the occupiers, or facing claims of damaging taxpayer property. 

Commissioners offered no reaction to Occupy's latest action.  County attorney Rheubin Taylor maintains the new permit ordinance merely puts in writing what Hamilton County has practiced for 30 years.

Which means that occupiers may not be occupying for long. As of now, Occupy Chattanooga has two more weeks.

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