Early last evening, a small group of Occupiers returned to their old home turf to commemorate the six-month anniversary of their eviction. Meeting in the recently reopened Lownsdale Square, the gathering acted more as a social hangout than a rally, the original idea behind the Facebook-planned event.
Organized by Occupier Liz Nichols—the 21-year-old who was pepper sprayed during the eviction—the event was slated to be a rally against police brutality. "We plan on staying until midnight," said Nichols at the start of the event. "I want the cops to come!" But, an hour in, the small group of 30 appeared to be just another late afternoon get-together, complete with guitar jam sessions and hair braiding.
The ambiguity of the event deterred past Occupiers. A few stopped by only briefly, afraid that Nichols wanted to cause an unnecessary police-attracting commotion. However, the only city officials that stopped by were a group of park rangers, hashing out the details for a ranger vs. Occupy softball game and BBQ in June.
Speaking to another Occupy veteran, Mark, it seemed like the event was more to support Nichols return to the public sphere since her painful incident. "We're just out here to support her. Nothing more than that," he said.
The night ended peacefully and quietly, to Nichols' apparent disappointment. Afterward, she wrote on the Facebook event page: "A lot of people who said they would show didn't. I didn't have the support I needed. What happened to coming together when people need it the most? Thank you to the people that did show up, and I would have stayed longer but it got cold fast and I need to sleep."
But, with the fences surrounding the old Occupy parks now down and summer settling in, it's hard to say what Occupy's next move will be.