Arrests At Some Occupy Sites, Snow At Others
Filed by KOSU News in US News.
October 30, 2011
Occupy Wall Street protests continue this weekend in several states. Police in Portland, Ore., arrested 30 people early Sunday morning when they defied a midnight curfew. In Denver, 15 demonstrators were taken into custody after they tried to stop the police from taking down their tents.
In Tennessee, protesters defied a curfew for a third consecutive night, yet in New York and Boston, protesters hunkered down as an early snowstorm hit the East Coast.
Police arrested about 30 anti-Wall Street protesters in Portland early Sunday, dragging and carrying them to waiting vans, after they refused to leave a park in an affluent district.
Officers in riot gear headed into a downtown park where protesters had established several tents, cracking down against demonstrators who ignored repeated orders to leave the area. About 10 to 20 tents had been set up after police knocked down two tents earlier in the day, according to the Denver Post.
Denver police spokesman Matt Murray said 15 people were arrested.
The action followed a tense afternoon standoff between protesters and authorities near the Capitol that escalated after about 2,000 marchers made their way toward the building and a small surge of demonstrators tried to advance up the steps.
About eight officers scuffled with a group of protesters and police confirmed that they used pepper spray and pepper balls to break up the crowd. A protester told the paper at the time that police used rubber bullets.
Murray said protesters kicked police and knocked one officer off his motorcycle. He said five protesters were arrested, including two for assault and one for disobedience.
He said some demonstrators had received medical treatment on the scene, but no one had been taken to a hospital. There were no reports of injured officers.
Mike Korzen, 25, said he was among the protesters whom police dispersed with rubber bullets and pepper spray.
“I was standing there with my hands behind my back,” Korzen said, using a water bottle to wash pepper spray from his eyes this afternoon.
The simmering tension near the Colorado Capitol escalated dramatically Saturday with more than a dozen arrests, reports of skirmishes between police and protesters and authorities firing rounds of pellets filled with pepper spray at supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Officers in riot gear moved into a Denver park late in the day where protesters were attempting to establish an encampment, hauling off demonstrators just hours after a standoff at the Capitol steps degenerated into a fight that ended in a cloud of Mace and pepper spray.
Denver police spokesman Matt Murray said 15 people were arrested in the evening confrontation, where authorities were moving to prevent protesters from setting up tents in the park, which are illegal. Officals say the demonstrators had been warned several times that the tents would not be allowed and those who attempted to stop police from dismantling the camp gear were arrested. Protesters have been staying in the park for weeks, but tents have repeatedly been removed.
Murray said that most of the protesters were peaceful but there was “just a die-hard group that didn’t want to cooperate.”
Occupy Wall Street protesters chanted slogans, danced to stay warm and defiantly protested into the early hours Sunday near Tennessee’s Capitol building, squaring off for the third consecutive night against state authorities.
“Whose plaza? Our plaza!” about 50 demonstrators chanted early Sunday in defiance of an official curfew.
Capitol police sporadically made their rounds and a state trooper occasionally walked past the protest in the pre-dawn hours, but authorities signaled no immediate attempt to make arrests as law enforcement agents had done on the two previous nights.
Demonstrators held a festive march through San Francisco Saturday, but tension marked another march in nearby Oakland as protesters rallied against police violence in the name of an Iraq War veteran who was injured during a police clash.
Many of the some 1,000 demonstrators in San Francisco wore costumes as organizers had urged, including suits in an apparent imitation of Wall Street bankers and Robin Hood outfits.
Before the march, left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore told them that excesses on Wall Street had stolen “the futures of so many of our citizens.”
San Francisco police escorted the crowd as it snaked through city streets, and police spokesman Albie Esparza said there were no arrests or any disturbances.
The crowd stopped briefly and chanted in support of Scott Olsen, the 24-year-old Iraq War veteran who suffered a fractured skull in an Oakland protest on Tuesday.
Later Saturday night, hundreds marched through the streets of Oakland in protest of police violence, as helicopters hovered overhead and officers in riot gear lined the streets.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino urging Occupy Boston activists who’ve been camped out on a downtown square for weeks in an anti-Wall Street protest to leave for the night due amid an October snowstorm.
But media volunteer Jason Potteiger said Saturday night that about 200 people still staying in tents at the site were in good spirits and the people running the food tent had more donations of hot meals than they knew what to do with.
“The term solidarity is used a lot in this movement, and I think the sentiment that’s all over camp is that if Oakland and Denver can make it through tear gas and rubber bullets, we can make it through a little snow and sleet,” he said.
Drenched protesters in Central Park hunkered down in tents and under tarps as the plaza filled with rainwater and melted snow.
Technically, tents are banned in the park, but protesters say authorities have been looking the other way, despite a crackdown on generators that were keeping them warm.
“I want to thank the New York Police Department,” said 32-year-old protester Sam McBee, decked out in a yellow slicker and rain pants. “We’re not supposed to have tents. We’re not supposed to have sleeping bags. You go to Atlanta, they don’t have it. You go to Oakland, you don’t have it. And we got it.”
A few demonstrators didn’t bother to take cover. Jason Jones, 23, sat on a chair in the rain wearing a soaked black coat and garbage bags around his ankles.
“I slept without a roof last night,” he said, adding that he couldn’t care less about being wet. “We need to teach the world a lesson.”
Anti-capitalist demonstrators camped outside St. Paul’s Cathedral in London say they are debating whether to move their protest amid a bid to evict them from the area outside the iconic building.
The protesters held an open-air meeting Saturday and discussed the possibility of moving their protest camp to one or more new sites.
The church reopened Friday after being closed for a week on health and safety grounds after hundreds of people began the protest against economic inequality. It was the first time the 300-year-old church had closed since German planes bombed the city during World War II. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]