Tea Party to Denounce Occupy SD Violence

A few members of the Tea Party will speak out against a violent incident from Occupy SD

By Sarah Grieco
|  Tuesday, Nov 15, 2011  |  Updated 1:37 PM PDT
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A few San Diego Tea Party members will denounce violence surrounding the Occupy San Diego movement on Tuesday afternoon by holding a press conference at 1 p.m. outside the Civic Center.

Tea Party member Rhonda Deniston will be leading the effort, as a result of an incident that occurred last week. While she was filming near the Civic Center, a woman living within the Occupy SD area hit Deniston’s camera away from her face.

Deniston caught the altercation on video and has since published the clip to YouTube, where it has received more than 100,000 hits.

“We are going to express our concern,” Deniston said of Tuesday’s press conference. “We want the city to force the movement to abide by city laws.”

She said the Tea Party does not oppose the Occupy movement, as long as they stay within their constitutional rights. Deniston said she was trying to work with the group and encourage discussion when she was attacked. After the incident, she said she feels as though she can no longer reach out to the group.

“The demographic has changed radically…it has become an indigent group of people who latched onto the movement,” she said. “I’m a little apprehensive of going there today, but when you have a message you have to be brave.”

She said herself and other San Diego Tea Partiers are entertaining the idea of filing a lawsuit against the city for failing to act against the violence within Occupy SD.

The numbers of protesters has dwindled since originally congregating in mid-October and numerous arrests have been made in the last month.

After hearing word that Tea Partiers would be encroaching on their encampment, Occupy SD asked people to join the movement Tuesday afternoon by posting on their Facebook page: “Articulate voices and peacekeepers will be needed on the ground.”

Ray Lutz, a spokesperson for Occupy SD, said the woman who hit Deniston is a homeless individual who is not representative of the movement. But he said Deniston should not have been filming once the woman asked her to stop.

“I think it’s out of line for people to come down with their camera, to videotape people who are down on their luck to make a political point,” Lutz said. “Frankly, I think the woman was right.”

Occupy SD protesters will be outside the Civic Center peacefully protesting the 1 p.m. Tea Party protest, according to Lutz.

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