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Occupy Lincoln 1

Mary Ann Shiech, who started the Occupy Lincoln Facebook page, hands out flyers to drivers on Friday, October 7, 2011. (ANDREW LAMBERSON/For the Lincoln Journal Star)

Her real occupation is raising three boys, ages 29, 21 and 12, Mary Ann Shiech says. She's no professional protester.

But something about the Occupy Wall Street movement -- an effort to fight the influence of money in politics -- caught Shiech's eye.

On Monday, she mulled whether she'll spend her Saturday sitting on a curb in downtown Lincoln, possibly wearing a pair of plastic riot handcuffs.

Media in Des Moines reported that "Occupy" protesters were dragged on the ground or carried away in handcuffs Sunday night after they linked arms and huddled together to avoid being arrested at a park west of the Iowa Capitol.

An Occupy Lincoln event Saturday still is taking shape, but one of the topics expected to be discussed at a planning meeting Tuesday is whether the local event will involve civil disobedience or be limited to legal protesting.

Shiech, 47, is leaning toward the more extreme option.

"If I get arrested, I get arrested," she said.

Shiech is the unofficial founder of Occupy Lincoln. She started a Facebook page for the group about three weeks ago.

"It just kind of sat there, dormant," she said.

Then, about a week ago, protesting pro Brian Ellis of Lincoln's Underground Network Collective, or LUNk, happened upon the page.

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The group held its first meeting Wednesday and got its first public exposure two days later, when about 50 members gathered at one of the city's main protesting drags, O Street and Centennial Mall.

"Our numbers have just been taking off like a rocket ever since," Shiech said.

The Facebook page had more than 1,000 "likes" by late Monday. Shiech said overcrowding was a concern going into Tuesday's meeting.

Some of the protesters, like Shiech, might not be regular voters.

"Maybe, like me, they find a chance to stand up for something finally, to be heard," she said. "This is the first cause that I've actually thought -- OK -- maybe the time is right. … I see other people who felt the same way all coming together."

Reach Zach Pluhacek at 402-473-7234 or


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