Protestors Arrested By the Dozens, In Occupy Camps

By: From CBS News, Posted by Ralph Hipp
By: From CBS News, Posted by Ralph Hipp
A sexual assault has been reported in the Occupy Philly camp; while the arrest totals mount up Sunday: more than a dozen in Portland, 17 in Denver and 19 in Salt Lake City

Hundreds of protesters and supporters gather hours before a mandate from the city to vacate the Occupy Portland Camp in Portland, Ore., Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011.(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

PORTLAND, Oregon (CNN) -- Numerous arrests took place in several Western cities as police moved in to clear Occupy encampments over the weekend, authorities said.

In Portland, Oregon, unrest continued into Sunday morning as protesters defied a midnight Saturday deadline for the Occupy encampments to close.

Tensions abated later Sunday as police attempted to peacefully close city parks, but flared at one park when protesters refused to leave. Police said on Twitter those refusing to leave Chapman Square were being arrested.

Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson estimated Sunday afternoon that more than a dozen people were arrested. Chapman Square was the last city park where protesters were gathered, as the others had been vacated as of Sunday afternoon, he said.

Video posted on the website of CNN affiliate KGW showed officers in riot gear holding batons facing off with protesters. Simpson said the officers were in the gear as a precaution, and were joined by other assisting agencies. "We needed the manpower because we used up a lot of resources yesterday (Saturday)," he said.

The operation was "pretty methodical," although a few demonstrators had scuffled with officers, he said. Video showed authorities dismantling tents at the camp.

Once the parks are cleared, temporary fencing will be erected so repairs can be made, Simpson said. The parks are "pretty beat up," he added. One officer was struck in the leg earlier Sunday by a projectile thrown from a crowd, and was taken to a hospital, but the injuries were not life-threatening, authorities said. One protester was arrested in a separate incident overnight, Simpson said.

Video from the scene showed masses of protesters on downtown streets. In the early-morning hours Sunday, police told demonstrators to leave the streets or face arrest. All but two of the demonstrators followed that order, retreating into several parks, KGW reported.

"A lot of people packed up and left today," police Lt. Robert King said. But hundreds of people showed up in the early morning hours -- some of whom have not been affiliated with the Occupy movement until now -- apparently hoping to witness a police confrontation, King said. Early Sunday, Mayor Sam Adams praised police for showing professionalism in a "very tense situation."

Police declared the parks closed as of midnight, Simpson said, "and they'll remain closed. They're not going to be open until they're repaired."

Police and parks department employees were on the scene for the closures, helping people and removing debris from parks, he said. Those who needed a place to stay were being referred to shelters, Simpson said.

"We're going to be very patient," Adams said earlier Sunday. "I'm prioritizing patience ... In order for us to do this peacefully, we need the time and folks on the ground need the time to do their work right."

One member of Occupy Portland, however, said demonstrators were not planning to budge.

"We're talking about issues that matter to people's lives," Kari Koch told CNN. Authorities can order them to leave, but protesters have a right to assembly and a right to free speech, she said. "We're not going to back down and leave the parks just because it's inconvenient for the mayor to have us here."

The Occupy Portland movement, on Twitter, was calling for additional protesters as camps were coming down. What started as the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York in September has spread across major cities worldwide as a call to action against unequal distribution of wealth.

In Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter said Sunday he was increasing police presence near the Occupy Philly camp and asking the city's police commissioner to "establish structures and strategic positioning and deployment of officers on a regular basis in that location."

What began as a peaceful protest 39 days ago has given way to increasing public safety and public health concerns, Nutter told reporters.

A woman reported she was sexually assaulted Saturday night in a tent at the encampment, Nutter said. In addition, there is the threat of fire near historic City Hall and concerns about litter, public urination, defecation and graffiti, he said.

Numerous reports of thefts and assaults in the encampment have been made, and 15 emergency medical runs were made between October 6 and November 11, he said. In addition, a maintenance project is set to begin soon on City Hall, one of several, he said. A $50 million renovation is planned for Dilworth Plaza, where protesters have camped.

Occupy Philly's general assembly voted Friday night not to move from the plaza, and members have not responded in recent weeks to expressions of concern from the city, which has repeatedly tried to work with the protesters, he said. "Many of the people that we talked to in the beginning of this event and activity are now gone," he said.

"We have things we need to do," Nutter said. "I understand that they have things on their mind as Americans and wish to express their free speech. I understand that, I get that, I've defended that. The things we're talking about, the activities that are going on, are not about free speech. They're public health and public safety concerns that have nothing to do with Wall Street and corporations."

The protesters are "purposely standing in the way of nearly 1,000 jobs for Philadelphians at a time of high unemployment," Nutter said. "They are blocking Philadelphians from taking care of their families."

"Misconduct is not about free speech," the mayor said, "and the behavior we're now seeing is running squarely into the needs of our city government that also represents the 99%. As mayor of the city of Philadelphia, I represent the 99% also."

WPVI-TV reported a suspect was arrested in the alleged sexual assault.

Meanwhile, in Salt Lake City, police said on Twitter 19 people were arrested Saturday night as authorities moved in to clear an Occupy Salt Lake encampment at a downtown park.

Police had ordered protesters to leave the park after a man was found dead late Thursday night. The cause of death was thought to be carbon monoxide poisoning and a drug overdose, according to television station KSTU.

"We can no longer tolerate individuals camping on our streets," Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank told reporters.

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