Dozens arrested at Occupy demonstrations in Austin, Portland

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 30, 2011 3:44 PM
Dozens arrested at Occupy demonstrations in Austin, Portland

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Dozens of protesters at economic inequality demonstrations in Austin, Texas and Portland, Oregon were arrested peacefully early on Sunday over allegedly failing to comply with rules in each city.

At Occupy Austin, some 38 people were arrested on Saturday night and early Sunday after refusing to let police take down food tables and clean the City Hall plaza where they had camped for several weeks, police told Reuters on Sunday.

They were charged with criminal trespass and issued citations that mean they can't return to the protest site.

"We've had a very peaceful Occupy Austin, especially compared to the rest of the nation, but we do have rules that have to be enforced," said Austin Police Officer Dennis Farris.

The Austin protest is one of many being held across the country by demonstrators who say they are angry over economic inequality and what they see as Wall Street greed.

Makeshift encampments sprouting up in cities nationwide have forced local officials to tread carefully between allowing peaceful assembly and addressing concerns about trespassing, noise, sanitation and safety.

In Portland, protesters' attempt to extend their occupation to a third city park in an upscale downtown neighborhood was broken up by police early Sunday morning.

Some 25 protesters were arrested on charges related to rules about use of the park.

Demonstrators were looking to expand their occupation to Jamison Square Park, located about a mile and a half from Occupy's first two downtown park encampments.

Unlike their original camps in pocket parks near City Hall and other government buildings, Jamison Square Park lies in the fashionable Pearl District amid expensive condos and townhouses, upscale restaurants and other retail businesses.

When protesters remained in Jamison Square Park at closing time after requests to leave, police in riot gear, some on horseback, moved them out of the park, said Police Bureau spokesman Pete Simpson.

"It was peaceful, methodical and business-like," Simpson said, adding there were no reported injuries and protesters did not aggressively resist police.

Most who were arrested were given citations for trespassing or disturbing the peace and were not jailed, he said.

Simpson said the arrests at Jamison Square Park should not be seen as a sign the city intends to evict protesters from their main encampments.

In Nashville, Tennessee, protesters at the downtown Occupy encampment were spared a curfew check on Saturday night.

In sweeps by the Tennessee Highway Patrol on both Thursday and Friday nights, 29 and 26 protesters were arrested, respectively, for violating a newly imposed 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.

Those arrested were released after Davidson County Night Court Commissioner Tom Nelson said there were no grounds for charges.

(Reporting by Karen Brooks in Austin, Dan Cook in Portland and Tim Ghianni in Nashville; Writing by Lauren Keiper; Editing by Jerry Norton)