Occupy Miami sets up in Overtown

Group takes over run-down apartment complex

OVERTOWN, Fla. - The dead grass, debris and landscape scars left behind by Occupy Miami protesters outside the Stephen P. Clark Center are long gone, replaced by green grass -- but where have the protesters gone? 

The answer is Overtown. About 60 Miami Occupy protesters have taken over a run-down apartment complex at the invitation of its landlord, Rodrigo Duque, also known as Senior Paz. 

"This is peace city. Peaceful people are the only ones that live here," Duque said. 

But, paying tenants of the building said it is anything but peaceful. 

"At night when I go to sleep, all I hear is fights and we have to call the police," said paying tenant Charane Odho. 

"Occupiers are activists and volunteers, so we are volunteering to fix these places up," said Jarrod Chase, of Occupy Miami. 

Renters said they are squatters, many living without water and electricity in unsanitary conditions. They do have rules posted, but not everyone follows them. 

When asked whether there is drug use there, Occupy Miami protester Louis Barboza said, "Everybody is free to do what they want. I am not the law, but I am sure, probably, yeah." 

During a tour, Local 10's Todd Tongen reported seeing people cleaning up and painting over graffiti. There is an office, but no one could find the key, and they have a shared kitchen and bathroom. 

When Local 10 wanted to see more, however, one of the people staying there objected. 

"The problem is you are invading our space, you hear me?" he said. 

The landlord also did not appear to care what his paying tenants think. 

"This shift could cause uncomfortable things for some people, but sometimes you have to sacrifice," Duque said.

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