What remains of the Occupy Indy

protest just 22 days after about 1,000 protestors gathered at Veterans Memorial


is dramatically smaller. As late as two weeks ago, hundreds marched

around Monument Circle shouting, "Banks got bailed out. We got sold out."

Now, the group occupying the

space it has named "Liberty Lawn" will spread its purpose by shaking

the hands of a few people who pass by and handing out fliers on the streets.

"If we keep this up and

stay united like we have been, I know we can win this and we will," said

Tasha Ernstes, who has been at Occupy Indy for three


Like many members of the

protest, Ernstes said she still feels passionate

about opposing the economic inequalities and influence of corporations in

politics — two of the key threads running through an organization

inclusive of ideas that don't always fit a smooth narrative.

"We don't have one

goal," said Debra Moore, who has made multiple trips from her home in

Akron, Ind., to the protest. "We don't have one leader. We have all of the

issues that are wrong with America today, but we don't have just one person to

stand in front of us and say it."

If one person has stood out

it's James Kerner. He became the first arrested in

the protest Thursday on charges of trespassing after an umbrella he was holding

was deemed a hazard to a fire exit on the south side of the statehouse. Ernstes said Kerner returned to

the protest Saturday night for the first time since his arrest.

For several members of the

fledgling group, the arrest offered an opportunity to ignite interest in what

some see as growing apathy toward the cause.

"This is going to help us

build our numbers," Brandon Jones said Thursday. "People are starting

to believe this is just a joke."

On Sunday, however, it was

apparent little had changed. The same umbrella Kerner

held provided shade for the group on a sunny day and numbers were still low.

But each addition to the protest offers inspiration.

"We have a lot of the same

faces," Ernstes said. "But we have some new

faces every day. Some just pass through. Some end up staying. It's very

enlightening and very encouraging to see new people who don't really know about

the occupation and when they find out about it and they find out what we are

doing and our cause they sit down and actually help support us."

As the 24-hour,

seven-day-a-week protest goes on, Ernstes said other

commitments keep more protestors from gathering near the statehouse. Still, she

said many join the occupation via the group's live stream — a sporadic

online broadcast of events happening on "Liberty Lawn."

Staying put

For Occupy Indy, the statehouse

poses both problems and opportunity. Jones said the inability to put up tents

or other shelter hampers the ability to maintain the group's presence. But Ernstes said it's important to stay put.

"Being on the statehouse

lawn makes a major point," she said. "It makes a much bigger point

than if we were sitting in a park occupying. We are on statehouse and (the

government) can't touch us."

To go to the bathroom, Ernstes said she travels to the Circle Centre Mall. Other

group members said they are often invited to nearby homes to take showers.

Jones serves as the group's chef, cooking anything from soup to Ramen noodles

on a hotplate powered by a generator.

Cool temperatures and strong

October winds are a constant reminder of the threat weather will pose as winter

arrives. Among the six members in attendance on Sunday, there were mixed

feelings about where Occupy Indy should be when the snow arrives.

"If needed, we can

move," Ernstes said. "But we have to

(discuss) what the group wants to do. This isn't just about one person."

"If we do shut down for

the winter," said Stefan Ludlow, a junior at Butler University. "We

will back in the spring in full force."

The group is most easily

identified at its daily general assembly, a 7 p.m. meeting that has been a

venue for making decisions and discussing the group's progress since its

inception. Ernstes said the gathering still attracts

those with less time to spend near the statehouse and a slow stream of

donations to keep the movement alive.

Ernstes said her belief in a bright future for Occupy Indy is the

strongest reason she remains.

"We are only four weeks

strong," she said. "But we are getting stronger every second. Every single

person that sits down and supports us, that's one more person to help prove our

point — to help support us."


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