Working with the same template as Occupy Wall Street, hundreds in Santa Ana began their protest in late October in front of the Ronald Reagan Federal Building where stringent ordinances prohibit camping.
“Every day at around 5 p.m. the cops come and round up the homeless people and give them citations,” protester Timothy Craven said.
There are over 6,000 homeless living on the streets of Orange County with a majority in Santa Ana.
Since many of the protesters are homeless, a major concern for Occupy Santa Ana is finding a solution for so many displaced individuals.
A group of about 20 gathered Nov. 7 in front of the Federal Building in Civic Center to show their support for the movement.
Protesters held signs, and more were propped next to the building.
The small but enthusiastic group chanted, ”We are the 99 percent!”
Protester Jack Marko, who was strumming a paint-stained guitar, says he attends Occupy Santa Ana but has not been camping.
Marko observed that while the area is “public property, they are not legally able to sleep here.” He believes a visual presence 24-7 makes an important statement for the movement.
One message among many is about the epidemic of home foreclosures in California. “I’ve been a protester all my life. Get the people to keep their houses, to stay in their houses. The main thing is to negotiate,” said protester Alex Vega.
Cal. State Fullerton student Sam Aresheh also supports the movement. “Many decisions are being made for our country through wealthy corporations. We’re advocating to get the money out of politics,” he said.
He was present at the city council meeting Nov. 7 when the council decided that camping would not be allowed.
Arasheh thinks without this permission, protesters would be “unable to sustain that long term peace protest in a safe manner, unless these ordinances are lifted.”
The city’s Nov. 7 denial of lifting camping ordinances sparked public speakers to remind the council that they voted for them but, as one speaker said, “won’t be making that mistake again.”