Boston row averted; Jackson Browne in D.C.

Dec. 5, 2011 at 7:44 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Occupy Boston protesters and police ended a standoff calmly Monday, while a few protesters were arrested elsewhere and Jackson Browne played in Washington.

Fear of another round of clashes between protesters and police in Boston was allayed when activists trying to bring a large, winterized Army-surplus tent to downtown's Dewey Square encampment backed down after police stopped them.

The financial district encampment is full of smaller, three-season tents.

But protesters said the larger, weatherproof, fireproof tent -- donated by a homeless man who raised the money for it through private donations -- would better meet the city's fire-code requirements, protesters said.

"We have made it quite clear we are not allowing them to build a new neighborhood in a public park," Mayor Thomas Menino spokeswoman Dot Joyce said.

In Washington, protesters heard Browne perform "Battle for the Future," a song he composed for the Occupy movement, The Washington Post reported.

But Browne -- whose hits songs a generation ago included "Running On Empty" and "Doctor My Eyes" and whose political activism included his 1986 "Lives in the Balance" album that condemned Reaganism and U.S. Central American policy -- said Monday, "This movement doesn't need a new song -- it just needs people to show up and sing.'"

His performance came a day after U.S. Park Police arrested 31 people and tore down a barn-like building activists began to erect Sunday morning in a park 2 blocks from the White House.

Protesters said Monday they would find a new place to hold meetings in bad weather.

In Oregon, Occupy Portland protesters huddled for warmth Monday and two men were arrested in the downtown Shemanski Park as temperatures hovered above freezing after a weekend of face-offs with police that resulted in nearly two-dozen arrests.

Riot police scuffled with protesters Saturday evening after demonstrators tried to set up a new campsite. Nineteen people were arrested.

Temperatures were forecast to drop to 25 degrees Monday night.

About 70 miles south of San Francisco, two Occupy Santa Cruz protesters were arrested early Monday after chaining themselves to courthouse steps, sheriff's deputies said.

The two men -- one 25 and the other 41 -- were arrested for alleged trespassing because they were told they could not remain on the property overnight, sheriff's deputies said.

Occupy Santa Cruz member Daniel Walters told the Santa Cruz Sentinel protesters had a right to be on public property and he didn't understand how courthouse steps are "not considered public property."

In Denver, a federal judge Monday heard arguments police were unconstitutionally restricting Occupy Denver supporters' free-speech rights.

Lawyers for the protesters told U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn the city was using ordinances selectively to stifle the movement, The Denver Post reported.

The city argued otherwise.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled governments can use local laws to effectively restrict speech provided the laws are applied consistently to everybody and are content-neutral.

In smaller cities, Occupy Providence spokesperson Mike McCarthy said the movement in Rhode Island's capital was beginning to feel its downtown park encampment was ineffective in creating change, so it might abandon the park and take other action instead.

"A lot of it is not whether we stay in the park but how we can step outside of it and affect the community in other ways," Mike McCarthy told WPRO-AM, Providence.

The movement has occupied the small Burnside Park since Oct. 15.

In Kingston, N.Y., several dozen Occupy protesters camped and demonstrated outside government offices to protest what they considered backroom politics in a proposed privatization of a county-run healthcare center.

One protester wrote on Facebook he considered the move, which he likened "to the Republicans' desire to privatize Social Security," to be a "top-down decision with little transparency," which is "exactly what the Occupy movement is against."

The 33-member Ulster County Legislature, including 14 lame-duck lawmakers, was to vote on the privatization Monday night.

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