Occupy Iowa accepts mayor's offer to move to Des Moines park

A general assembly of the Occupy Iowa movement decided Friday evening to move their 24-hour protest to a Des Moines city park rather than risk another round of arrests on state Capitol grounds.

Protesters have been occupying part of the west capitol terrace since last weekend. On October 9, state troopers arrested more than 30 people who refused to leave state property after 11 pm. On October 11, the Iowa Department of Administrative Services granted Occupy Iowa a three-day permit to use the space around the clock until 11 pm on October 14. Today officials denied a request to extend that permit:

“Our procedure and policy has not been to grant permits beyond three days to occupy the ground at any one time and so we are trying to be consistent with that policy here with this organization,” [department spokesperson Caleb] Hunter says. […]

“We have made accommodations to groups that wanted to have an event that may lasted for two or three days,” [Governor Terry] Branstad said during an appearance on Iowa Public Radio. “Nobody’s ever had a permit for more than three days. This group was granted a three-day permit. That is now over and that is the same policy that’s been in place, as far as I know, for decades.”

Several Occupy Iowa protesters indicated that they were willing to risk arrest to stay at what they call the “people’s park,” but Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie turned up at the group’s general assembly Friday evening to offer them an alternative space. He said the director of Des Moines Parks and Recreation supported letting the protesters camp at Stewart Square, not far from the Capitol at East 15th and Grand Avenue. Cownie told the crowd that the original purpose of public parks was to provide space for people to gather. He drew cheers by adding that he wants city police “out busting bad guys” (that is, not arresting peaceful protesters).

After some debate, those present for the general assembly voted to accept the mayor’s offer. That’s the right move in my opinion, even if Stewart Square is in some respects a less visible public space than the west capitol terrace. I don’t see the value in activists getting arrested every night by state troopers. Last Sunday’s events gained plenty of publicity for the Occupy Iowa movement already.

Side note: in case anyone was wondering, Branstad said on Iowa Public Radio today that he didn’t participate in protests as a young man, because “I was too busy working on the farm.”

UPDATE: Occupy Iowa issued this statement after voting to move to Stewart Square:

“Anytime the government is responsive to the will of the people, it is a victory. This move will allow us to refocus on the real enemy: corporate greed. Join us tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. as we march on the financial district.”

LATE UPDATE: Great catch by Goldeneye at Under the Golden Dome: Branstad did participate in protests as a young man. On November 5, 1967, the Des Moines Register quoted him as a “counter demonstrator” who was “astounded” that anti-Vietnam war protesters were “attacking the federal government.”

About the Author(s)


  • Surprised the neighborhood wants this...

    Given that Iowa CCI has basically hijacked this protest group, and given the extreme desires of the occupy wall street group occupy iowa “stands in solidarity with” and outlined In the video, who would want this group around any kids and playgrounds?

    I would keep this group away from any children.


    • mirage, it's pathetic

      that you keep spamming the link to that video, as if it reflects what this movement is about. The Occupy Iowa protesters and others who sympathize with the Occupy Wall Street activists are for reorienting government priorities away from what benefits the wealthiest individuals and large corporations. They are for reducing the influence of big money in politics and for policies that represent the public interest.

      Then you contradict yourself by saying Iowa CCI hijacked the group. If Iowa CCI is running the show, then how can you tie Des Moines protesters to one chant at a rally in another state? Iowa CCI’s agenda is not secret or mysterious. They have been working on economic justice, social justice and environmental issues for quite some time.

  • Just talked to residents there...

    …and members of the surrounding neighborhood association…they are NOT happy about not being contacted first,…and do NOT want camping, homeless, and possible drug use in  their small neighborhood park with a playground for their kids.

    Cownie is not scoring any points here.

    • "possible drug use"

      If you have evidence of illegal activity going on at the Occupy Iowa protests, produce it. Sounds like you are just trying to smear people assembling peacefully to advocate political change.

      • DMD? This is an absolutely false statement...

        On the part of Mirage.  Not only is the Capitol Heights Neighborhood Association pleased to have Occupy Des Moines in Stewart Park, members of the association are engaged in cooking and hanging out with Occupy Des Moines.

        Mirage, if you have an issue with a group and their agenda, that is fine.  FYI- Spreading malicious falsehoods in the public forum can produce consequences.  

        • mirage has been trying to discredit

          the Occupy protesters and their motives from the beginning.  

        • Really?

          I 100% stand behind my post where I talked to people that DO NOT support the occupation of Stewart Park…and they ARE members of the surrounding neighborhood association.

          I talked to them yet again today…they have not changed their stance.

          Iowanbybirth…(and DMD…since u gave that post a 4 rating)…why do you claim that is false?

          I assume your comment is true that some association members are eating and even supporting occupydsm…but to say my posting is false implies you are claiming the entire association supports this….prove it….because I say BS.

          Post the survey results of the entire association showing all are in favor…or ANY proof of your claim that my post is false….you can’t do it.

          Ps…dmd…did you see the heroin bust at occupyboston today?

          • Mirage?

            I doubt if your friends were at the last Neighborhood Association meeting because the support seemed unanimous.  

            I took your statement as representative of the Neighborhood Association.

            I will seek to obtain a copy of the minutes from the last Association meeting and share them with you.

            I am talking about the formal and ratified support from those who directly participate in, and represent the Neighborhood Association around Stewart Park. This may take a day or two, please bear with me.

            You are of course free to hide behind your mask of anonymity and make all the wild ass allegations you wish.

            DMD?  Sorry I haven’t been posting much on this, busy attempting to be the change I would like to see.

            • Wild ass? It is you that admitted you can't read....

              My claim was true….

              You called it out as false, and only now want to take it back because “you really did not read my post” before launching into you own hysterics.

              I want to see your results of the entire survey of the entire association, not just the few activists that attend the meetings, or the non residents that happen to attend the same meetings with an agenda.  (yes…that was posted on occupydsm facebook)

              Next time you post, get your facts straight before the hysterics begin.

            • Wild ass? It is you that admitted you can't read....

              My claim was true….

              You called it out as false, and only now want to take it back because “you really did not read my post” before launching into you own hysterics.

              I want to see your results of the entire survey of the entire association, not just the few activists that attend the meetings, or the non residents that happen to attend the same meetings with an agenda.  (yes…that was posted on occupydsm facebook)

              Next time you post, get your facts straight before the hysterics begin.

              • Ok Mirage, you win...

                You are the smartest bestest debater ever.  

                All of your talking points are absolute fact.  Occupy Des Moines is taking over the world.  

                Just be ready to have your ass plastered up against the wall when we win mother fucker.

                • Iowanbybirth...your best post ever...

                  I hope we all win….that is the great thing about American capitalism…it gives us all that chance.

  • Here is one....

  • And another with occupy iowa....


    Homeless….no agenda…no asking for “social justice” as you claim….just looking for a place to land….as I have stated.  By the way…see the comments where his police history is?

    I think my concerns are well founded…and proved.  You have a right to think otherwise, and we will agree to disagree…

  • I would like to see a credible source

    glenbeck.com is not a credible source.  I know I can’t believe anything I ever saw on his or any show on Fox.  Why not use a website ijustmadethisstuffup.com.  That would have just as much and possibly more credibility than glenbeck.com

  • And another...


    His daughter???

    Why are these people allowed near any children in parks?

  • Here is the real issue...

    If the local occupy protesters want to march on local small bank and financial offices, who employ low paid, lower level employees who had NO policy making impact and are not accountable our national debate on corporate greed and poor financial practice…

    ….then the local occupy group HAS to be accountable for everything occupy wall street does, including the call for the end of democracy and capitalism…and other extreme demands…especially when the local group states “they support and stand in solidarity” with the national protests.

    It is not a one way street…….  

    Note the word “accountability” so prominently on those blogs masthead…you can’t duck it just to be convenient.


    • Valid point

      Mirage has a point.  I have a hard time with these movements that are just angry for the sake of being angry.  I see a lot of anger over the Federal Reserve for example and the fact that they loaned money to Greece.  I think the concept of Greece and the EU becoming further unglued would be awful for our economy.  The anger of the left and the right over the Federal Reserve for example is not met with a solution however.  

      • Which is it?

        Are they angry that the Federal Reserve has done something controversial, or are they angry “for the sake of being angry”?

        I think its pretty obtuse to say there is no reason for anger at the dysfunction of American democracy and the concentration of wealth and power in this country.

      • some charts for you

        Take a look at these graphs showing the extreme concentration of wealth that has occurred in this country over the past 30 years.

        Are you seriously claiming that people have no substantive reason to be angry about how the political system serves the interests of the wealthiest individuals and corporations? To cite only one example, how is it fair for hedge fund managers to have the majority of their enormous incomes taxed at the low capital gains rate rather than as income? Congress couldn’t manage to fix that even with historically large Democratic majorities in both chambers.

        • Response

          I’ve seen similar charts.  I knows tons of unemployed or under employed.  I an specifically upset at those people who think that there is some sort of a big conspiracy against them by the Federal Reserve.  

          I think they are just angry and have no real platform.  As far as the dysfunction of American democracy, hell if people want to vote for candidates who raise money from no one, they are out there.  The voters vote for the special interest backed candidates because they’re stupid.

          Dmd, have I ever claimed to be against “progressive or socialistic” taxation.  Look through my posts and save the rants for someone who actually disagrees with you on your larger point.  

          How much money do you think I make 2lane?  Why do you assume that I do not know poverty?  Because I may not always agree with your solution?  Us versus them mentality is fun, no doubt huh?  

      • "angry for the sake of being angry"

        Sure, people have gathered by the hundreds and thousands in over 1400 cities just for the sake of being angry.  That is totally what they would rather do with their Saturday morning than a walk, or gardening–be angry–because it’s so much fun, dontcha know.

        It wouldn’t hurt you to actually do a little reading on “these movements.”  You could start with the New York declaration and then get personal on Tumblr with the personal stories of people who have been chewed up and spit out by our great economic system, which exists to serve the wealthy.  Such as:

        Today marks 10 months unemployed.

        I have no job, no healthcare, no savings left.

        Just trying to keep my head above water….and freaked out about what I’ll do when the benefits run out.  = (

        I am the 99%.

        I served my country for 5 years (U.S. Military); I have a doctorate degree and started my own business. I was doing well until an irresponsible driver crashed through my bedroom of the house I had purchased, while I was asleep in bed nearly killing me. I fought the insurance company for 3 years and received a very small settlement. Now I can no longer work in the profession I was trained in, and I no longer qualify for affordable health care insurance as a self-employed person due to my chronic injuries caused by someone else.  I am the 99%. Please occupywallstreet.org

        Before taxes, I make $25,000 a year.  My job offers NO benefits, NO health insurance.  Yet, I buy my own high-deductible insurance policy.  About a month ago, I went to the ER.  I spent two nights in the hospital and had two surgeries.  Now I owe more in medical bills than I make in a year, even with my insurance “coverage.”  And I consider myself lucky.  What if I had no job and no insurance at all.  I am the 99%.

  • Media writing about Radical Iowa CCI taking over local occupy group..


    As one can read on the occupydsm site, local occupiers are up in arms about this…and ask the author to remove the Iowa CCI references….the author responded… it stands as written.  One only needs to do a little permit research to verify the takeover.

    Occupydsm now has no credibility.

    If that was not enough, occupydsm voted in GA to attend the Ron Paul meet and greet while PROTESTING the Obama offices here….laughable.  This started a full scale meltdown on their facebook site.

    ….but don’t forget the ‘dance party’ tonight at Stewart park!  Why come up with any real demands or goals?