Events continue to clash with Occupy Tucson as message is lost

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Twenty days into the Occupy Tucson movement and the tents continue to multiply, even spreading to two satellite locations.

It's been touted as a leaderless movement for the 99%, but that could be its biggest weakness.

Some protesters prefer a satellite location of the Occupy Movement at the main library park because of it's proximity to City Hall and banks like Bank of America.

And a lot of people in and around Armory Park not connected to the movement would like it if protesters moved to Library Park too, but without a leader, big decisions like that are hard to make.

For years the Stillwell House near Armory Park has been the setting for picture perfect moments of celebration.

Now that park looks a little different as ground zero for Occupy Tucson.  And it has patrons of the Stillwell House and the nearby Children's Museum complaining to council members.

"There's nothing political about somebody's wedding," Kozachik said.  "These people don't want to have to walk their wedding party or elementary school group through a political protest."

It's a struggle to get one main message from the leaderless Occupy Movement, but one occupier on the PR team admits public perception is a battle they may be losing.

"It can be frustrating when we're working to win the public and educate people as to what we're doing and then anybody can just shout over the top of everyone some pretty hateful rhetoric," said Gabriel Estrada with Occupy Tucson.

There is no question the movement has been peaceful.  No violence or arrests after 20 days.

But the fact the movement has no structure makes it hard to control.

"Because it's not guided by any one person, we can't control everyone," Estrada said.

That's why Councilman Steve Kozachik says its time to act, "Enough is enough.  Enough of the impact on the community, you've made your point.  It's time for you to move out."

Most occupiers have said they will for upcoming events in the parks.  But others say they're not going anywhere.  The PR team wants Tucsonans to know everyone is welcome.

"We don't want it to be a place people avoid because, 'Oh, those people are yelling. Those people are trashing the place,'" Estrada said.

Thursday the city again refused to comment on its plans, but Kozachik is hopeful a plan is in the works.

"While you might just be getting written notices from the city staff, it is my guess, my educated guess, that there's activity going on," Kozachik said.

As for Occupy Tucson, it's optimistic the city won't kick them out.  "Tucson has the opportunity to continue acting with love," said Estrada.

There's another event this weekend at Library Park, Story Town.  Three thousand kids will be at the park and the library has asked the city to make sure it's cleared out.