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Occupy protest tents may have to come down

Oct. 19, 2011 at 2:43 PM
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OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 19 (UPI) -- An Occupy Oakland protest tent city in California may have to be shut down because it's attracting rats and plagued with alcohol and drug abuse, officials say.

Demonstrators' presence at the city's Frank H. Ogawa Plaza is worsening a rat problem city works employees normally are able to keep under control, The Oakland Tribune reported Tuesday.

The problem "has gotten worse with all the food and people and couches," city administrator spokeswoman Karen Boyd said.

The city has received complaints about the rats from local businesses, workers and even the demonstrators themselves, she said.

There have also been reports of illegal drug and alcohol abuse, fighting and sexual harassment in the tent camp, she said.

"Basically, it's not legal for them to camp; we're accommodating it. And we've been telling them, we reserve the right to change our minds at any time," Boyd said. "Certainly, that kind of behavior makes it more difficult to continue."

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