The encampment has dwindled also because of the ban on fires, a condition asked by the state in an order November 28 by Judge Torresen allowing protesters to remain until she makes a final decision. Recently only a half-dozen occupiers have been sleeping in the tents.
Ed Bonenfant, an occupier, said he has doubts the camp can continue without the warmth of a campfire. He and others are mulling over other ways of protesting. (See "'Occupy the Capitol!'," by Lance Tapley, December 2.)
The occupiers have been warmed, however, by expressions of support, including a multi-faith march to the park and candlelight vigil on Sunday, December 4, by 50 people. Bonenfant jokingly told the gathering that, because fires are not allowed in the park, by lighting candles, "You're participating in an act of civil disobedience."
"Camp or no camp, this movement will not be quieted," said the Reverend Carie Johnsen, of the Augusta Unitarian Universalists, in a press release.
(In the latest on the fire front, an unoccupied Occupy Augusta wooden-framed tent was "intentionally" set on fire on December 5, according to the State Fire Marshall's office, which was investigating the arson. Hay used for insulation was ignited and burned through the tent. The state had argued that the camp should be shut down because, in part, of fire risks.)