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Occupy arrests in Boston, Washington

Oct. 11, 2011 at 2:43 PM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Police arrested more than 100 protesters Tuesday in Washington and Boston as Republican and Democratic politicians split on support of the Occupy rallies.

Boston police charged 100 demonstrators with unlawful assembly and being in a public park after hours. Washington police arrested six of the hundreds of people for unlawful conduct at the Hart Senate Office building on Capitol Hill.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., criticized Democrats for encouraging the demonstrations against Wall Street greed, which is in its fifth week.

"People are afraid and I get it," The Washington Post quoted Cantor as saying. Last week, Cantor described the protests as a "growing mob."

"We have elected leaders, stirring the pot if you will. That's not good," Cantor said, accusing the protesters of attempting to pit "one part of our country against another."

Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said it's "important that we gain control and make sure the rules are followed."

Tents and personal belongs were thrown away during the sweep of the tent city on the Rose Kennedy Greenway that began about 1:30 a.m., the Boston Herald reported.

Davis said the arrests marked a change in the once-agreeable relations between the protesters and police.

"The group that was here for the first 10 days was working very closely with us," Davis said, "but they warned us yesterday morning that a new group, the anarchists, wanted to take control."

At least 40 tents were pitched on the site, north of the group's original occupation site.

Boston police and Mayor Thomas M. Menino asked the group, part of a nationwide rally for a fairer U.S. tax structure and to draw attention to other social issues, to leave the second site by midnight, the Herald said.

When police arrived at the campsite, they told protesters the park was closed to the public and asked them to leave. When the protesters stayed, police began pulling them from the crowd.

"They just ripped the group open, and went for our tents," said protester Nicholas Hassell, 21, of Franklin, Mass. "They shouldn't be doing this. We have the right to exercise our freedom of speech."

Occupy Boston set up a camp along Atlantic Avenue about two weeks ago, The Boston Globe reported. After the group expanded to the Greenway Monday, police warned them to leave.

Earlier Monday, University of Massachusetts students joined Occupy Wall Street to try to draw attention to financial problems facing students.

"Our fees went up $800 last summer," said Lindy Ngoteni, 20, a junior at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. "My friend had to take out loans just to pay for her health insurance. It's crazy."

Harvard University junior Mark Warren, 20, told the Globe he was marching to protest what he said were unfair wages paid to maintenance and other workers at the school.

"Harvard is the world's richest university," said Warren, who is from New York City. "It's an embarrassment to its students that its workers aren't paid more."

In New York, where Occupy Wall Street spawned similar protests across the United States and abroad, Occupy Wall Street activists promised to march on the homes of five New York billionaires Tuesday to decry the planned expiration of a state millionaires' tax.

They planned an afternoon march to the exclusive homes of News Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch, JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon, conservative billionaire David Koch, financier Howard Milstein and hedge fund mogul John Paulson, march organizers said.

The marchers planned to present oversize checks at each location to dramatize how much less the billionaires will pay when New York state's 2 percent tax on millionaires expires Dec. 31.

"While everyone else is struggling and being asked to make sacrifices to get through the economic downturn, these folks are actually being given more money to line their pockets," Occupy spokesman Doug Forand told the amNewYork newspaper. "They live in luxury -- these folks don't need a tax break."

The tax-law expiration is "fiscally, economically and morally wrong," Forand told the New York Daily News.

Atlanta organizers planned to march to the Bank of America building Tuesday morning.

The Occupy protesters say they are demonstrating against the richest 1 percent of the population, who hold 35.6 percent of the country's wealth, and what the protesters say is Wall Street greed that contributed to the global economic crisis. Their demands include wanting limits imposed on corporate donations to political campaigns.

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