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Occupy Sniagrab: Protesters use annual sale to defy urban camping ban

homes not sales occupy denver sign.jpg
Big photos below.
After months without a place to legally camp outside following passage of the city's controversial urban camping ban, Occupy Denver members have finally found a place to bed down where the police can't really bother them: outside Sports Authority.

With the company snagging a special permit for its big Sniagrab Labor Day sale, the city has allowed tents again for the annual shopping tradition -- and Occupy Denver is taking advantage.

Members of Occupy Denver gathered at the store around 6 p.m. last night to both celebrate the opportunity to legally camp outside and also criticize the city for hypocritically allowing shoppers to camp but banning Denver's homeless, who they feel are without other options.

Jakeob Olson, Occupy Denver.JPG
Sam Levin
Jakeob Olson, Occupy Denver member who spent the night at Sniagrab.
"There are people who have no place to sleep, that can't afford to live inside, but they are forbidden to even cover themselves with a sheet," says Don Heldenbrand, a member of Occupy since October, and one of the first to arrive at the store on Broadway last night. "People who have real needs -- nobody wants to hear about them. We just want to shove them out of the way."

Heldenbrand, 53, says he was not surprised when he found out that, despite Occupy Denver's long battle with the City Council to stop the camping ban, the city still decided to let Sniagrab continue this year.

"I'm too familiar with the hypocrisy of government," he says. "The city outlaws camping outside. They destroyed our tents...but these people will be allowed to do whatever they want."

The Occupy Denver members making signs last night emphasized that they were not there to protest the eager shoppers or even Sports Authority -- and are glad to see camping permitted again, even if just for a few days.

"I'm glad these people get to camp out and get bargains -- that's great," says Terese Howard, 26, who has been with Occupy since the beginning. "But this is privileging corporate interests over people.... A corporation is being given the privilege of camping but the homeless, who have no home, are not."

At the start of the protest last night, some of the Occupy members debated whether they wanted to label their efforts Ssensselemoh or Sselemoh -- "homeless" or "homelessness" spelled backward -- as a nod to Sniagrab, a word that reorders the letters in "bargains."

The camping ban has long been a big issue for Occupy Denver and one that clearly symbolizes the movement's protests about wealth and corporations that has been central to Occupy Wall Street across the country.

In Denver, city officials have argued that the camping ban would help small neighborhood businesses, and also would encourage homeless individuals to seek services off the street or reconnect with friends or family. The latter was cited by Mayor Michael Hancock, who conceded that the ban was in part a response to Occupy Denver

Occupy Denver banner 2.JPG
Sam Levin
Occupy Denver brings out its banner
Continue reading for more from Occupy Denver and for more photos.

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23 comments
jmckeeco84
jmckeeco84

Communist idiots...you're all a bunch of lazy, stupid assholes who need to get a LIFE.  

guest
guest

why does westword continue to champion and provide front page coverage to a dead cause, that for all practical purposes, was pretty darn useless and non-effective in the first place?  I know its right across the street from your offices and thus easy to get up-to-the-minute photos and breaking news flashes about the next time one of them takes a piss in the alley or snorts up in his 'temporarily' legally-pitched tent,  but how about showing a little effort and expand your supposed 'liberal' news scope.  I read elsewhere theres some really hot breaking news flashes from the aurora shooter case - and, hey ! whatsup with that new bronco quarterback guy?  And didnt a new restaurant just open up somewhere around your news office that needs a hot review???    See?  plenty of interesting alternatives to fill your print space & your excessive photos(!) quota

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

I'm curious how Hickenlooper would have addressed this had he still been mayor ?

Chris Estus
Chris Estus

Where did you buy that tent? from a corporation?

Chad Kautzer
Chad Kautzer

Liv, checkout occupydevner.org for everything going on with occupy.

Jim Dissett
Jim Dissett

I'm not an attorney, but it seems applying this ban for political reasons while allowing camping for other reasons deemed "acceptable" violates the First and/or the 14th Amendment. Either there is a ban or there is not a ban.

Philo99
Philo99

There is a huge difference between the Sniagrab shoppers and the Occupy radicals.

 

One group contributes to society and the tax base, while the others are parasites on society.

woah_dude
woah_dude

They should occupy a shower and the employment line, in that order.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Philo99 Spoken like the vile consumerist pig that you are.

jitolp
jitolp

 @woah_dude

 I work a high paying corporate job and own a business. I bring home almost 6 figures a year. I am pretty sure I make more than you do. Your argument is void!

Spike
Spike

 @woah_dude And what about the ones who do have jobs, and volunteer time in their community, and still are active with Occupy. Generalization is the sign of lack of intelligence, and a fear of any unknown that has been presented. Grow up and actually think your own thoughts rather than spew back hate rhetoric that is passed on by individuals working on playing on your weak feelings and insecure understandings of the world.

Philo99
Philo99

but without us vile consumers who would pay for your foodstamps?

Philo99
Philo99

"almost 6 figures" corporate job and own your own business.

 

You forgot to mention your girlfriend in the Niagra Falls area and the motorcyle you keep at you Grandmother's house.

Philo99
Philo99

lol lowlifes with jobs. Good one.

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