BURLINGTON – The latest move in an escalating series of protests came yesterday afternoon when members of “Keep the Park Green” chained themselves to several people in City Hall Park, chanting “Let them stay! Let them stay!” Protesters had previously chained themselves to trees in an effort to prevent their removal, but this was the first time they had chained themselves to other human beings.
“The trees were symbolic, yes,” said KPG member Roddy Call, “but the real issue here is the displacement of the homeless community who use and live in this park every single day. The Burlington elites want to gentrify downtown and spit on the less fortunate? Well, not on my watch. If they want to get rid of them, they’ll have to get rid of us too!”
Burlington police suggested that they had no problem getting rid of the whole lot of them, but as they had received no formal complaints about the protest their role was to watch the situation closely and keep the peace. The people in the park subjected to the surprise chaining seemed to have mixed reactions, although generally they did not seem positive.
“I’m not homeless, I’m just here to eat my lunch,” said one gentleman, who indicated that he would like to file a formal complaint, but that his phone was in the pocket on the same side of his pants as the hand that had been cuffed to a protester and could not be reached at this time.
“Leave us alone!” shouted one woman, clearly unhappy with being attached to a KPG member. “We didn’t ask for this. We don’t need this. Go find someone else to wrap your liberal guilt around. You don’t know me! We’re not props!”
Call admitted to being confused by the cold reception on the part of the park residents. “As a white man, I have power. And I’m trying to use that power to help those without power. I’m doing this the only way I know how to do it. The park needs to be protected!”
A brief and unscientific survey taken by The Winooski showed that, among people who frequent City Hall Park, most are not in favor of being chained to protesters. When asked what actions they would be in favor of, the most popular responses were “Have a real conversation with us” and “Get to know us as actual human beings.”