Lone Occupy San Jose Protester Vows To Keep His City Hall Perch

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MikeColgan20100909_KCBS_0410r Mike Colgan
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SAN JOSE (KCBS) – An itinerant construction worker who has been perched on a wall at San Jose City Hall for more than a week has no plans to leave, even as he is the only remnant of the Occupy San Jose protest.

Shaun O’Kelly said he took his inspiration from the UC Berkeley tree-sitters when he decided to spend 99 days on top of San Jose City Hall.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

“I know they have a hard time getting people down from trees, so I figured they’d also have a hard time getting people down from walls.”

A rotating group of tree sitters stubbornly maintained a camp high in the trees of Memorial Grove outside Cal’s Memorial Stadium from December 2, 2006 to September 9, 2008. The group was trying to push the university to preserve the 1920s landscaping project during the seismic retrofit of the neighboring university football stadium that sits directly on top of the Hayward fault.

San Jose authorities have allowed O’Kelly’s occupation to continue without conflict.

“I’ve been very fortunate,” he said, particularly compared to the protesters in Oakland hurt when police lobbed tear gas and non-lethal projectiles into the crowd trying to oust them from Frank Ogawa Plaza.

What the 27-year-old O’Kelly described as amateur mountaineering has garnered international coverage since it started on Oct. 24, spreading the message of the Occupy movement to unexpected corners.

“A few days ago, I received a cupcake from an elementary and middle school, and it had an eye ball on top of it,” O’Kelly said.

Their message?

“It was symbolizing that the kids had their eye on me,” he said, adding the students told him they discovered Occupy because when they found out about his solitary protest atop a 36-foot wall.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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