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Occupy Cleveland condemns bridge bombing plot

7:34 AM, May 2, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- To some extent, Brandon Baxter, Anthony Hayne, Douglas Wright, Connor Stevens and Joshua Stafford have been involved with the Occupy Cleveland movement over the last seven months.

"I know four of them. I knew they had some strange ideas, but I never thought they would go so far as to hurt a single person," says Robin Adelmann.

Adelmann, who has lived in the group's tent at Public Square for months, says he heard about the arrests when he was checking his email at the library this morning.

He says he can't believe a violent plot was in the works.

Related story: Bomb plotters had ties to Occupy Cleveland 

"We're sad, we're stressed, we're sick," he says, of the group's reaction.

Adelmann says many passers-by on Public Square have shouted at the occupiers at the camp.

He says the actions of the five men arrested are the opposite of what Occupy Cleveland stands for.

"The whole idea is to spread a message of love and try and fix the country, but do it non-violently. If their plot even broke somebody's arm, we would have said, 'that's horrible.'

"But the fact that they thought they could blow up a bridge -- and I imagine they weren't going to stop traffic so people couldn't be hurt -- it's just really almost unbelievable." 

"But now we're looking at the affidavit and hearing things, it seems like it's really true," Adelmann said.

Because Occupy Cleveland is made up of volunteers, Adelmann says there is no vetting process for people who associate with the group.

"Please don't judge us on these five individuals. If we'd had any inkling of this, they'd have been gone a long time ago. They were obviously very secretive, but God, if we'd had any way of knowing, they would have never gotten near that bridge," Adelmann said.

Occupy Cleveland deactivated its website and posted a statement on Facebook earlier in the day, distancing the movement from the individuals arrested:

"While the group arrested Monday evening by the FBI were associated with Occupy Cleveland they were in no way representing or acting on behalf of Occupy Cleveland or the event that was planned for later today at the GE Lighting building.
 
The May Day Event that was sponsored by Occupy Cleveland, the North Shore AFL-CIO, Cleveland Jobs with Justice, Fight for a Fair Economy and SEIU Local 1 has been cancelled because of the alleged actions of the autonomous group arrested last night.
 
Occupy Cleveland has had affirmed principles of non-violence since its inception on October 6, 2011."
 
Adelmann says Occupy Cleveland will meet this week to figure out how to move forward.

WKYC-TV

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