PITTSBURGH - A deadline for Occupy Pittsburgh to leave the BNY Mellon Corp.-owned park where it has been camped out since early October passed on Sunday with protesters vowing to winterize the site and saying they would evict the bank instead.
BNY Mellon officials asked the protesters to leave by noon Sunday, concerned about reports of hypothermia and the use of propane heaters, gasoline-powered generators, and other devices in the small Mellon Green park.
Protesters responded by noting there had been no cases of hypothermia reported and that no one was using heaters or kerosene-powered or gas-operated generators inside the tents set up in the small, privately owned park.
About 100 tents and varying numbers of people have been occupying the park since mid-October, but bank officials on Friday asked them to vacate it over the weekend. If the protesters stay, bank officials have said they would go to court on Monday to seek an injunction to evict them.
Jeff Cech told the Associated Press that there were about 35 tents in the park, which Occupy has renamed the "People's Park," and that part of the winterizing included moving the tents back from walkways to make room for shoveling snow.
"We're also trying to find better ways to keep them dry and insulated," he said. "Putting them up on pallets so that they're off the ground."
Cech said an eviction notice would be given to BNY Mellon on Monday.
There was no police presence around the park before, during, or after the deadline. Cech said members of the protest were nonviolent and would not leave.
"We're just taking it one day at a time," he said. "We're really just moving forward and planning on staying and being prepared for forced removal when that time comes. We're not going to let it stop us from our other actions and regular routines."