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After an idea to create a group to promote minority involvement is shot down, the general assembly shifts to soapbox time, giving everybody a chance at the mic to rail about any topic. Several people who aren't living in the park talk about women's safety at the camp and how sexual harassment has been reported. Some Occupy sites in other cities have been sullied by crime and alleged sexual violence. At least one woman told police that she was sexually assaulted in a tent at Occupy Lawrence. A man also complained that he had been physically assaulted. The city of Lawrence ended up evicting the protesters from South Park.
No such reports have been made at Occupy Kansas City.
The rants end and people break into their working groups to discuss Sunday's rally and other efforts. Three hours after dark, the supporters who came for the general assembly get into their cars and leave the overnight occupiers for another cold night. There is some good weather news: It's dry and the steam coming from the pretend flame on the nearby Liberty Memorial is flying straight up, indicating there's not much wind. That should make for easier camping than a couple of nights before, when the wind ripped tents out of the ground.
On Sunday, Occupy Kansas City's rally at Ilus Davis Park and march to the Northeast neighborhood goes on as planned. The minimal police presence at the rally — and at the encampment itself — looks accommodating compared with demonstrations in other cities. Police in Portland, Oregon, and Austin, Texas, arrested several Occupy protesters. In Nashville, a reporter for The Pitch's sister paper, the Nashville Scene, was arrested and charged with criminal trespass and, dubiously, public intoxication while covering an Occupy rally.
Kansas City police made no arrests associated with Occupy KC's Sunday rally.
Camping without a permit and pending winter weather put the movement's future in question. But even without an official reprieve, it appears that the authorities are not interested in stifling the local Occupy movement ... for now. Many protesters hope that they will be allowed to maintain a presence in Penn Valley Park until they achieve their goals, however long that takes.
On Sunday, Occupy KC's Twitter feed captured the mood: "It's a beautiful day for a revolution."