On Saturday anywhere from 25 to 4,000 protesters will converge on Zeidler Park and march to Chase Bank in downtown Milwaukee as part of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that has swept across the nation.
And no matter how many “99 Percenters” turn out for the “Occupy Milwaukee” event, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said his officers are well prepared.
“I don’t have any major concerns, quite honestly. I’m convinced that we have a good pre-plan, and we’ve got a disciplined group of officers attending it,” Flynn said at a press conference Friday evening. “We know our mission.”
The “Occupy Milwaukee” demonstration is set to begin at 11 a.m. with a rally at Zeidler Park along West Michigan Street. The plan is to move the group to the Chase Bank Downtown Center, 111 E. Wisconsin Ave., at 12:30 p.m. and stage a protest.
The MPD will patrol the streets outside Zeidler Park on Saturday, while the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department will patrol the park, which is under county jurisdiction.
Flynn said most protests at other events around the country have been peaceful. He did not reveal the total number of officers that will be on scene Saturday, but simply said there will be “enough.”
“Some demonstrations have had 25, 250 or 1,000 people,” Flynn said. “We are prepared for any eventuality.”
Flynn said the protesters will be given the time to deliver their message in a safe and law-abiding manner. Officers on scene will use their discretion — based on the size, demeanor and scope of the protest — in determining when to end the demonstration.
The “Occupy Wall Street” movement began in New York City. It is a leaderless movement of people who say they no longer want to tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent of the population that controls the nation’s wealth.
Participants in the movement dubbed themselves the “99 Percent," representing the majority of people who have been placed in financial straits. The “Occupy Wall Street” movement claims to use nonviolent tactics during the demonstrations.
The “Occupy Milwaukee” Facebook page has already gained more that 5,300 followers, and organizers say they will use Zeidler Park as a staging area for future actions.
Patch will be on the scene of the "Occupy Milwaukee" protests on Saturday and post updates from the scene and comments from participants in our live blog. The blogging will begin around 10 a.m.