Deadline looms for Occupy protesters to remove tents in West Palm Beach

Protesters ordered to leave by Thursday

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Wednesday evening could mark the last night that Occupy protesters would be allowed to occupy their camp in downtown West Palm Beach. The city ordered them to leave sometime after midnight. The Occupiers, though, said they will not leave without some kind of a fight.

About two dozen Occupiers have been staying in tents outside the former City Hall building at North Olive and Banyan Boulevard. Mayor Jeri Muoio has told the campers that they will no longer be allowed to live in tents.

A West Palm Beach police spokesperson said there would not be any kind of a showdown at the camp location at midnight. Police confirm though that the campers have been ordered to leave sometime Thursday. It is unclear what may happen if or when police move in because several Occupiers said they have plans to "defend themselves and their rights," but no one will discuss what those plans consist of.

"Up until a week ago it was fine that we were here and all of a sudden, it's not. We're peaceful," said Brien Huley, an Occupy supporter. "We're not going to go out and start battling in the streets. We just believe that you have to take a stand sometimes."

Occupiers can continue to protest the excess of Wall Street and the disparity between America's rich and poor, but the city will no longer allow the group to live in tents on city property. In fact, the city has said that it has plans to sell the former city hall property.

Police do not plan to use force to remove the protesters, but a department spokesperson said the plan could change depending on the actions of the protesters on Thursday.

"We picture this as the heart," said Huley. "If you take the heart out of the body, how are people even going to know where to find us?"

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