Occupy Austin Heats Up as a result of new rules enacted by Austin Texas authorities

Austin police arrested 38 Occupy Austin protesters early Sunday morning outside of City Hall. Police said protesters refused to leave when ordered and engaged in civil disobedience. Four more arrests were made shortly before5:00 p.m. Sunday evening.

(CNN) — The arrests occurred thousands of miles apart, but the scenes were similar in Oregon and Texas early Sunday: In the dark of night, police told Occupy demonstrators to leave protest sites. Those who refused were handcuffed and arrested.

Authorities in Portland, Oregon, and Austin, Texas, say protesters were trespassing and violating city rules. Demonstrators say authorities were infringing on protesters’ rights to assemble.

Police arrested more than two dozen people who refused to leave a park in northwest Portland, Oregon, after warnings that the park closed at midnight, police said.

Authorities in Portland “gave protesters numerous opportunities to simply walk away or choose to be arrested,” Mayor Sam Adams told CNN affiliate KPTV.

“This tonight was, I think, an unnecessary confrontation that we worked really hard to minimize,” he said.

Occupy Portland offered a different take.

“Six mounted police and approximately 65 police in riot gear pushed supporters to the sidewalks and conducted the arrests over a period of several hours,” the group said in a statement.

A Twitter post from the group as police entered the park said, “This is what a police state looks like.”

Police also arrested 38 people in Austin, Texas, who had set up a table with food and other items outside City Hall two days after the city issued rules saying food tables at the event must be put away between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. When the group was asked to leave the area, the 38 refused and were arrested, police said.

“A number of individuals decided to try to prevent the police from taking the food table, so they formed a ring around it. That’s when they (police) started pulling people out arresting them,” Occupy Austin member Ronnie Garza told CNN affiliate YNN.

Group members questioned the legitimacy of the city’s new guidelines, saying they were not passed by a City Council vote, YNN reported.

“These were arbitrary rules that came from City Hall which is what spurred people to resist in a non-violent way,” Garza said.

Austin Police Chief Aft Acevedo told YNN police were doing their jobs.

“We steam clean the plaza for health and safety reasons three times a week. The Occupy Austin members have always been very cooperative,” he said. “Tonight, it looks like a few people decided to exercise civil disobedience and have been arrested.”

Demonstrators across the country are protesting corporate greed and corruption. Many say the nation’s wealthiest 1% hold inordinate sway over the remaining 99% of the population.

Scores of protesters have been arrested nationwide during the weeks-long “Occupy” movement.

On Friday, police said 51 demonstrators in San Diego, California, were arrested for various charges, including encroachment, unlawful assembly, illegal lodging and/or some form of obstruction of officers.

Three others were arrested on similar charges in Tampa, Florida, according to a police statement.

In Atlanta, police arrested demonstrators at a downtown park overnight Tuesday. The arrests came after Mayor Kasim Reed said he sent ministers to the park “to see if we can find a way to resolve this amicably.”

In Nashville, Tennessee, authorities arrested more than two dozen protesters overnight Saturday, after they again defied a curfew imposed by the state’s governor.

Twenty-six people received citations for trespassing, while two others were cited for public intoxication, according to Tennessee public safety spokeswoman Dalya Qualls.

On Thursday, Oakland, California, Mayor Jean Quan apologized for authorities’ confrontations with demonstrators, who were tear-gassed. The clashes led to the hospitalization of an Iraq war veteran.

Marine veteran Scott Olsen suffered a skull fracture Tuesday night after allegedly being struck by a tear gas canister in Oakland, according to witnesses.

Despite recent crackdowns against demonstrators nationwide, the loosely defined “Occupy” movement does not appear to be losing steam.

In New York, where the Occupy movement was born, activists braved snow, sleet and rain Saturday during an unusually early snowstorm in the Northeast.

CNN’s Maria P. White, Susan Candiotti and Kara Devlin contributed to this report.

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5 comments on “Occupy Austin Heats Up as a result of new rules enacted by Austin Texas authorities

  1. The rules against camping in public spaces is a concerted effort to keep the homeless as out of the public view as possible. Ironic, then, that they’re using such laws to silence people’s right to assembly and speech. I don’t recall the Constitution saying anything about a curfew on the right to assemble, or any other rules. I must misunderstand the phrases… “shall not abridge” and “peaceably assemble.” well, either that or they are.

  2. Well, while I sympathize with persons who have suffered arrest, I can’t help but think that the profound obtuseness of police who think they can make up rules and enforce them on peaceful, law-abiding citizens, is all to the good for the long-term health of the Occupy movement.

  3. We are living in a Police State,and Martial law is right around the corner waiting to be orcistrated. It’s what they really want.

  4. Wow, you guys are paranoid.

    The parks around here all have closing times, and none of them house Occupiers. Simply because you are protesting doesn’t mean you get free reign to break the law.

    And give me a break already – Police States? Martial Law? Besides the fact the guys that basically the only guys that could institute that are liberals, who have generally supported the occupations, do you REALLY think cops and the national guard is some mindless enforcers?

    Geez, go to your local donut shop and start chatting up some officers – they are good people….

  5. Pingback: The Cost of Occupy Austin (Texas) | The League of Aggressive Progressives

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