On Friday, the county told KEZI 9 News it had crews out spray painting an area off Sixth Avenue, which is now the new Free Speech Plaza.
It’s actually where the old county annex building used to be. Earlier Friday there was no one out there demonstrating. There were also no signs up, saying it was an area for free speech.
The Free Speech Plaza is expected to be closed until at least Tuesday night.
A county spokesperson says they’ve accepted a bid to clean the Free Speech Plaza and around the county building. It’s for $9,000, bringing the total cleaning bill to $21,500. That’s for both the county building and Butterfly lot across the street.
The cleaning is directly linked to a weeks-long protest at the plaza and the mounting health concerns.
The county says campers were going to the bathroom in and around the county building.
KEZI 9 News went to some of the demonstrators who are currently at the old federal courthouse and asked them about the bill. They called it ridiculous.
“We did have someone sweeping the plaza…Understand why it cost so much though,” said Angie Bartow, SLEEPS Demonstrator.
The county says camping won’t be allowed at the interim free speech site. However, there were no signs up when we were there saying it was off limits.
As for if the demonstrators will use the new interim Free Speech Area, they said they just learned about it. They say they’re happy with where they’re at now, and they’re getting plenty of exposure there.