Fed up with Occupy Wall Street-style encampments, police in cities around the country are increasingly cracking down on protesters who refuse to vacate public spaces.
More than 100 were arrested in Oakland on Tuesday, and 53, including a state senator, were rounded up in Atlanta. Those raids, along with others in smaller cities across the country this week, have brought the total number arrested in Occupy protests nationwide to between 1,500 and 2,000, the Los Angeles Times reports. About half of those arrests have been in New York, while the other half have been spread far and wide.
Many of the arrests have come in cities that had earlier said they would tolerate the protests, the LAT notes. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed had issued an executive order allowing the demonstrators to stay in Robert W. Woodruff Park, but he revoked it this week amid what he said were escalating security concerns.
In Baltimore, meanwhile, city officials declared on Tuesday that overnight camping is illegal in the plaza where protesters have been camping out for three weeks, the Baltimore Sun reports. The city didn’t say exactly when or whether activists would be kicked out, but a confrontation looks likely.
Other cities have allowed protesters to occupy one square or plaza but have drawn the line at expansion into other public spaces. Boston arrested more than 100 when they spilled over from a city-sanctioned encampment into a nearby park; New York hauled in over 700 when they marched on the Brooklyn Bridge. A few cities, such as Chicago, have allowed the encampments during the week but insisted on clearing them on weekends for cleaning, leading to mass arrests.
And while the protests in New York’s Zuccotti Square, the movement’s ground zero, are still going strong, their status there is tenuous. They got a break Tuesday night when the neighborhood community board again backed the demonstrations, provided they quiet down.
No word on how many of the Atlanta or Oakland protesters used the new "I'm Getting Arrested" smartphone app.
The confrontations started about 12 hours after police cleared out an encampment in a plaza that demonstrators had been using for two weeks, the Oakland Tribune reports. While only about 300 people had been in the encampment when police raided it early Tuesday, more than 1,000 took to the streets Tuesday evening to “reclaim” the plaza.
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