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Police move in on Portland park, Occupy protesters remain

Police officers in riot gear approach a demonstrator, one of hundreds who ignored the Portland mayor’s order to leave the park by midnight.

Associated Press

Police officers in riot gear approach a demonstrator, one of hundreds who ignored the Portland mayor’s order to leave the park by midnight.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Several hundred protesters, some wearing goggles and gas masks, marched past authorities in a downtown street Sunday, hours after riot police drove Occupy Portland demonstrators out of a pair of weeks-old encampments in nearby parks.

Police moved in shortly before noon and drove protesters into the street after dozens remained in the camp in defiance city officials. Mayor Sam Adams had ordered that the camp shut down Saturday at midnight, citing unhealthy conditions and the encampment's attraction of drug users and thieves.

More than 50 protesters were arrested in the afternoon police action, said Portland police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson on KGW-TV. By early afternoon, officers had mostly surrounded the camp where the protesters were holding a "general assembly" meeting to discuss their next moves following the eviction order.

Some officers used nightsticks to push people away from the encampment and used loudspeakers to warn that anyone who resisted risked arrest and "may also be subject to chemical agents and impact weapons." Demonstrators chanted "we are a peaceful protest."

Police could be seen carrying at least one protester away from the park. Another man was taken away on a stretcher; he was alert and talking to paramedics, and raised a peace sign to fellow protesters, who responded with cheers.

On Sunday at an impromptu news conference, the mayor defended his order to clear the park, saying it is his job to enforce the law and keep the peace. Officials said that one officer suffered minor injuries when he was hit by some kind of projectile in the leg. Police had prepared for a possible clash, warning that dozens of anarchists may be planning a confrontation with authorities. Officers seized pieces of cement blocks Friday, saying they were told some demonstrators had plans to use them as weapons against police.

In other cities over the weekend:

• In Chapel Hill, N.C., more than 24 police officers rushed a vacant car dealership Sunday and arrested eight protesters who were inside.

• In Salt Lake City, police arrested 19 people Saturday when protesters refused to leave a park a day after a man was found dead inside his tent at the encampment. The arrests came after police moved into the park early in the evening where protesters had been ordered to leave by the end of the day.

•In Albany, N.Y., police arrested 24 Occupy Albany protesters after they defied an 11 p.m. curfew in a state-owned park. State police officials hauled away the protesters after warning them with megaphones that they were breaking the law in Lafayette Park.

•In Denver, authorities forced protesters to leave a downtown encampment and arrested four people for interfering with officers who removed illegally pitched tents, said police spokesman Sonny Jackson.

• In San Francisco, violence marked the protest Saturday where police said two demonstrators attacked two police officers in separate incidents during a march. Police spokesman Carlos Manfredi said a protester slashed an officer's hand with a pen knife.

Police move in on Portland park, Occupy protesters remain 11/13/11 [Last modified: Sunday, November 13, 2011 10:11pm]
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