Austin city hall surrounded by tents during protest against new camping ban


Tents surround Austin City Hall in protest against the city’s new camping ban (Photo: KXAN)

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Opponents of Austin’s public camping ban surrounded town hall in tents on Friday night to protest the ban. The protest comes in response to voters who choose to adopt Proposal B, which reinstates the camping ban and reintroduces a criminal sanction for violators. It was adopted with 57% of the votes.

Under the reinstated ban, camping will be banned in all areas not designated by the Austin Department of Parks and Recreation – a move that would largely affect Austin’s homeless population. Criminal penalties may also be imposed on offenders who sleep outside near downtown or the University of Texas. Lying or sitting on public sidewalks is also prohibited.

The city of Austin has since said the ban will go into effect on May 11. As of Saturday morning, City Hall was still surrounded by tents after protesters apparently slept inside overnight.

Tents surround Austin City Hall in protest against the city’s new camping ban (Photo: KXAN)

Signs stating “Criminalization kills, housing for all” and “What would the city council do without its housing?” were placed on some of the tents. City manager Spencer Cronk told council on Thursday that the new law passed by voters will be phased in and enforced in a safe and humane manner.

“City staff are currently working on developing a phased implementation of the Camping Ordinance from its effective date of May 11, with a focus on health, safety and security. security and connection to services where possible, ”a city spokesperson told KXAN in a follow-up. email Friday.

Austin voters chose to reinstate the camping ban on May 1, having previously lifted the same restrictions in 2019. Prior to July 2019, a ban on camping in public places had been in place for 23 years.

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