NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Occupy Nashville protesters said Tuesday they're taking steps to maintain order and safety on the grounds near the state Capitol where they're camped, and anyone who doesn't adhere to the rules is removed from the group.
Protesters have made an effort to keep the area safe and clean following the state's imposition of a curfew and arrests of 55 protesters last week. There has also been a gradual increase in law enforcement.
Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has said unsanitary conditions were part of the reason for the curfew, which has been blocked by a federal judge.
Earlier this week, two legislative workers said they were taking a break in a courtyard outside the plaza when someone in bushes above the area urinated on them.
Connie Ridley, the director of the Office of Legislative Administration, said Tuesday that the Tennessee Highway Patrol was notified and is "making an effort to ensure the area is safe."
Protester Eva Watler said Occupy Nashville is also doing its part to provide security by having at least two people from the group patrol the area, particularly at night.
When the protesters began camping in downtown Nashville over a month ago, they acknowledged some individuals who had come off the street and caused trouble were not part of the group.
The protesters asked the state for assistance in preventing thefts and assaults.
But Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons said at the time: "We don't have the resources to go out and in effect baby-sit protesters 24-7 ... at the level that would have been necessary to address their concerns."
Since then, the state has increased law enforcement presence on the Capitol grounds, the War Memorial Courtyard and the Legislative Plaza.
Safety Department spokeswoman Jennifer Donnals didn't comment on how many more officers have been enlisted, or the cost, but she said the state wants to make the area safe for everyone.
"Our goal continues to be the safety and security of everyone on the Legislative Plaza," she said. "We are taking appropriate measures to secure the plaza."
Watler said troublemakers have been weeded out and that the group doesn't tolerate the type of behavior experienced by the two legislative workers.
"We have a code of conduct," she said. "If you break the code of conduct, you have to leave."
Protester Duane Conley said he welcomes the extra security.
"For people that aren't part of the Occupy movement that show up and might want to cause problems, that's a good thing," said the 37-year-old musician.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)