In the two days since Chapel Hill police raided the former Yates Motor Company building, Occupy Chapel Hill members say they have seen an increase in local support for their movement.
The raid, which resulted in seven arrests of protestors who were associated with an anarchist movement known as “occupy everywhere,” coincided with a nationwide crackdown on protests affiliated with Occupy Wall Street.
Nick Shepard, a member of Occupy Chapel Hill, emphasized that the actions of protestors on Sunday were not a collaborative effort between the his group and those affiliated with “occupy everywhere.”
Occupy Chapel Hill has occupied the Peace and Justice Plaza since Oct. 15, advocating for economic equality through non-violent tactics.
“Police in every city are cracking down on the movement in all its peaceful manifestations,” Shepard said. “It’s prompted conversation of the direction of the movement, and that’s obviously a big turning point.”
Occupy Wall Street protestors in New York City were ordered to vacate Zuccotti Park on Tuesday, as were other occupiers in several other major cities throughout the past week.
Shepard said Sunday’s events, paired with the national protest raids, helped give the local occupation more legitimacy.
Michal Osterweil, press correspondent for Occupy Chapel Hill and lecturer in the Curriculum for Global Studies, said she has already noticed an increase in attention for the movement.
“To be honest, yesterday at General Assembly there were more people,” she said. “People wanted to know what happened, and it became a productive face of discussion.”