The protesters are still squatting at Delaney Park Strip on Tuesday evening, where they have been for nearly a week.
According to city ordinance, city parks open at 6 am and close at 11 pm. But rules are different for opponents of the state’s budget in Alaska’s largest city. Especially when the mayor gives his nod.
Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has verbalized his approval for this encampment, which is starting to fill with homeless people as well as protesters. The organizers say it’s a drug-free and crime-free community.
While there were 14 tents last week, and 24 on Sunday, the number of park squatters keeps growing, with 30 tents counted on Tuesday. Although the squatters have been given notice to vacate Tuesday night by 11 pm, they say they’re not going anywhere until Gov. Michael Dunleavy restores cuts to the budget.
Justina Beagnyam, who identifies as spokesperson with the Alaska Poor People’s Campaign, is one of the leaders of the occupation.
Beagnyam also took part in the disruption of a meeting of legislators in Wasilla last week, where protesters took over the desks of the legislators and shrieked through the prayer, pledge of allegiance, and legislative announcements.
The group had a handshake agreement with the city to clear out on Sunday night, but has reneged on the agreement and is now settling in for the long haul. Protesters say they won’t leave until more funding for homelessness is included in the State budget.