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'Occupy' protest group and St. Patrick's Day Parade may clash in St. Louis

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A regional conference of Occupy groups from the Midwest will descend on St. Louis the same weekend that the city's St. Patrick Day Parade is scheduled.

The members of the Occupy movement say that there was no intention to use the parade as a platform and that the date is only a coincidence.

According to the "Meet Me in St. Louis" flyers the Occupiers handed out, demonstrators plan to gather in Kierner Plaza beginning March 15. However, the St. Patrick's Day Parade organizers have a permit for the plaza the same weekend.

“They decided the middle of March and none of us really thought about St. Patrick’s Day,” Occupy member Catherine Lipinski told FOX 2.  “It wasn’t something that really clicked in our minds.”
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Says St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s Chief of Staff, Jeff Rainford: “Anybody who wants to use the park may use the park without a permit, unless someone else already has a permit.”

Therefore, the Occupiers have to find another location. Organizers are now telling the demonstrators to meet on the Arch grounds, but they won't say where they will go from there.

“We’re still looking at locations,” said Lipinsik.  “There have been a few places that people have expressed interest in having us there.  But we’re still just looking at places right now. “

Neither side seems too concerned about the two large crowds of people that will converge on St. Louis, and Rainford says he doesn't expect lawlessness from the demonstrators.

“I’m not gonna assume that they’re going to do that.  If it looks like they will, obviously we’ll have to react accordingly.  But for us to sit here today and say, hey we’re gonna get all revved up, only has the result of revving them up.  At least we’ve seen that in other places,” he said.

Said Lipinski: “I can say if there were any problems along those lines it would be with parade goers, not our camp.  I think, we’ve had actions, like, you saw it with the World Series.  We were down there in force and there wasn’t really any problems on our side. “

Parade chairperson Sue Morton also said says she’s confident everyone will get along and that she hopes some of the occupiers will join the fun.
 

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