Portland shuts down Occupy encampment

Nov. 1, 2011 at 11:04 AM   |   0 comments

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PORTLAND, Ore., Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Police in Portland, Ore., cleared an encampment and arrested nine Occupy Portland protesters early Tuesday as Tennessee officials agreed to end curfew arrests.

The (Portland) Oregonian reported, 40 to 50 police officers took down dozens of tents at Terry Schrunk Plaza while protesters stood nearby, shouting, "The whole world is watching" and "The tents will go back."

Lt. Robert King, a Portland police spokesman, said the Federal Protective Service decided not to allow protesters to camp near a federal courthouse overnight and asked city police for help. King said police moved in so early because many were sleeping and few vehicles were on the streets.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams said in a Twitter post early Tuesday: "I wanted to make sure it was done peacefully."

Mike Landers-Marlow, 22, called the police response "a gross overuse of police force."

"It's disgusting that cops can dress in riot gear and hold sticks and threaten us," he said. The message spreading through the encampment, he said: "Keep it verbal and keep it peaceful."

In Tennessee officials' decision to stop arresting Occupy Nashville protesters for violating a newly imposed curfew law came after a federal judge said regulations adopted to respond to the protest were "not legally" put forward by Gov. Bill Haslam's administration, The (Nashville) Tennessean reported Tuesday.

The state was facing a federal lawsuit filed Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee on behalf of Occupy Nashville, The Tennessean reported.

In requesting a temporary restraining order, the lawsuit alleged the arrests and new regulations violated the protesters' First Amendment rights and requested a temporary restraining order. State attorneys did not object during Monday's hearing and U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger granted the request.

"It's a huge victory for Occupy Nashville as well as for free speech for all Tennesseans," said Tricia Herzfeld, legal director for the ACLU of Tennessee.

After three weeks of protests, Haslam approved a crackdown on demonstrators last week, citing safety and sanitation concerns.

Meanwhile, organizers of Occupy Oakland said they're expecting thousands of people in the California city's streets Wednesday as part of a general strike and mass day of action, the Oakland Tribune reported.

Strike organizers said music and art performances, marches, bike rides and street parties would be held throughout downtown.

Oakland rapper and Occupy organizer Boots Riley said a goal for Wednesday's strike is "to show them that we are capable of taking power back," by interrupting the economic system he said he believes is hurting countless people.

Labor unions have offered an informal commitment to participate in the strike, the Tribune reported.

In Des Moines, Iowa, police told Occupy Des Moines demonstrators they have until Thursday to remove makeshift tents of fortified tarps at their encampment in Stewart Square, The Des Moines Register reported.

Space heaters and homemade insulation were removed after a visit Friday from Des Moines Fire Chief Tom Patava. Fire officials deemed those items hazardous.

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