Occupy group facing internal squabbling, end of permit


Clark County management will not renew a permit for the Occupy Las Vegas encampment once it expires Feb. 20.

The decision comes days after internal squabbling among protesters made a splash online. Organizer Sebring Frehner demanded his name be removed from the permit, which allows protesters to camp on 1.4-acres of county land near Paradise Road and Swenson Street.

Frehner, who tried to cancel the permit earlier this week according to emails obtained by the Review-Journal, did not return calls seeking comment. It is unclear why Frehner wants his name removed from the permit.

Online posts point to the possibility of rising drug and alcohol use on the site and fighting, but protesters at the site contest the allegations.

One protester alleged that Frehner tried to have the portable toilets removed so that the group would be evicted for not complying with the county permit. According to protesters, about 50 people camp at the site. About a dozen are activists with the movement while the majority are area homeless who rely on the food, shelter and portable toilets.

The place that once served as an outlet for Occupy Las Vegas, a local chapter of the Occupy Wall Street movement against corporate greed and influence in politics, appears to now have turned into an extension of social services.

Earlier this week, four paramedics and two police officers arrived at the encampment for a mental health check on a man who was said to be off his medication. After a brief checkup, the man was allowed to stay at the camp.

County Manager Don Burnette said the permit and the site were not intended to be used this way.

County management will allow Frehner to remove his name from the permit, leaving two protesters' names on the agreement.

Although it appears the local movement might be losing steam, one protester said the group is re-energizing for the upcoming presidential election.

Contact reporter Kristi Jourdan at kjourdan@reviewjournal.com or 702-455-4519.

 

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