As part of their plan to regularly occupy the governor's office, a small group of Occupy Denver protesters made a second trip to the Capitol today. About ten people have rotated in and out of the building since 11 a.m. this morning, and while a few have been removed on occasion, only one has been banned: Thunderdome protester Corey Donahue, who yesterday was arrested inside the building.
The occupation follows a week without significant demonstration activity from protesters -- so a handful decided to up the movement's attention ante through a continued presence inside the Capitol. Eventually, the group hopes to occasional 3 p.m. general assembly meetings will be held at the building.
Aside from a few instances involving medical marijuana and large bags, most members have been allowed to enter and occupy the building. "Yesterday, I walked in there, and we had a meeting and were occupying until Corey was arrested," Kerri Kellerman says. "They refused to let me in because of my bag, but someone else volunteered to take it back to camp for me, and I managed to get in."
Those who volunteer to occupy the Capitol are currently being rewarded with hot food, which Donahue had delivered to the Capitol steps this afternoon to feed the assorted protesters. The money for the food comes from the Thunderdome's donation budget and today paid for one pepperoni and one cheese pizza to feed the approximately ten occupiers who spent most of their day in the governor's office.
Donahue, who was accused of verbally assaulting a state patrol officer this morning, is currently prohibited from entering, though officials aren't sure how long this ban will last, officer C.J. Valdez says. Donahue says he'll return tomorrow to see if the ban is still in place, though a final attempt today ended with him being promptly escorted from the building and the door shut behind him.
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When asked how state troopers are enforcing Donahue's ban from the building, Valdez said that a supervisor made the decision and that there's no need to pass around Donahue's image. "We're all aware who he is," Valdez says. "We've had experience with him before."
Yesterday, Donahue was removed from the premises and arrested for failing to appear in court for a traffic violation. Although he did fail to appear in court for one case last week, Donahue says it was not because of any traffic violation: His first two charges related to Occupy Denver, for alleged unlawful conduct on state property and unlawful sexual contact. According to him, these cases were scheduled for simultaneous hearings, and Donahue attended one while his lawyer went to the other.
"When I went into the building, a staff member said, 'You're Corey, right?'" Donahue says. "She recognized me, and all day today I've had this security guard staring at me out the window as I sit on the steps. Further down the rabbit hole, Alice."
More from our Occupy Denver archive: "Occupy Denver protesters want their dog-and-leader to meet with Governor Hickenlooper."