The group started protesting in Reynolds Park on October 7 and subsequently moved the camp three days later to a plaza at the intersection of State, Carroll, and Mifflin streets, adjacent to the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. Earlier this week, the group decided to move once again after holding a general assembly, the daily meetings facilitated by participants to share information about the demonstrations and vote on decisions affecting the group.
Occupy Madison has established a new camp at Olin Terrace, which begins at the intersection of East Wilson St. and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. This encampment will include an information desk and sleeping quarters, on either side of the paved circle that begins just before the bridge connecting to Monona Terrace.
There are two reasons why the group chose to move on Wednesday. One, the permit that was acquired for the demonstration, by an individual acting without the full support of demonstrators, expires Wednesday. However, the main concern voiced was that they did not want to be at the plaza during Freakfest.
"I don't want to be doing security during Freakfest," said Peter Cardner, who volunteered to join the Occupy Madison security team. "I think it would be safer for everybody if we weren't here."
Cardner said he was concerned Freakfest participants would vandalize the encampment. There was one incident on Monday night, he explained, where a group approached the tents and threatened to tear up signs, but demonstration participants were able to deescalate the situation.
The move on Wednesday was the latest challenge for the encampment's participants. Christian Hansen, who was the general assembly facilitator on Tuesday night, said the group was committed to work together to move the now bulked-up encampment, which has been recently visited by activists like John Carlos and Jesse La Greca.
"We've got all hands on deck," he said. "It's pretty chaotic, but it's something I think will build a lot of unity with the movement [...] we're moving together, that's quite literal."
As it stood Tuesday night, the camp consisted of five shelters closed on all sides with polyethylene tarps and anchored to the ground with gallon-jugs of water and bricks. Inside these structures were goods like mattresses, lights, extension cords, tables and a few chairs. Four bunk beds were placed outside of the shelters, meanwhile, and covered with a large white tarp to stay dry.
Occupy Madison's site committee planned the logistics for the move itself during a Monday night meeting. One of its members, D.B. Pedersen, spoke to the general assembly Tuesday and laid out the plan for moving to Monona Terrace and cleaning the old site.
In pursuit of a democratic process, general assembly format allows for discussion after announcements or proposals are introduced. Davi Post, who also is part of the site committee, raised concerns with the plan. He thought the move should be pushed back a few hours to avoid rush hour traffic. There was a moment of tension, but in the end the group decided not to amend the original plan.
Still, Post considered the general assembly process to be successful. "They work. They're messy, but they work," he said.
At the end of the discussion, Hansen told the crowd that it was a "fairly easy meeting" to oversee and ended by sharing some luck with the participants.
"On a personal note," he declared, "I just got an Indian Star on my Tootsie Roll pop wrapper, so this is a very good sign."