Friday, February 3, 2012

occupy austin removed

hearing reports occupy austin are being removed.
i will investigate. let me know if you hear anything.

City Hall has officially issued Occupy Austin a written eviction notice. Anyone found sleeping at City Hall past 1030pm will be arrested. Activists now mobilizing to City Hall.

from: The Statesman

Police break up Occupy Austin encampment

By Patrick George and Tony Plohetski | Friday, February 3, 2012, 11:55 PM

UPDATE 12:45 A.M.: City officials confirmed seven people were arrested tonight, all on charges of criminal trespass.

In a surprise move tonight, Austin police officers began breaking up the Occupy Austin encampment, moving protesters who for nearly four months had set up sleeping bags, signs and a makeshift library in front of City Hall.

Armed with city policy adopted Thursday that bans people from the public building during overnight hours, officers began clearing the protesters about 9:30 p.m. They said that they were enforcing new rules that also ban sleeping, camping and storing sleeping equipment on the plaza, mezzanine and amphitheater — the sites that the group has called home since Oct. 6.

Although the effort started peacefully, the mood began to get heated about 10:45 p.m. as members gathered to discuss what to do next. Many yelled “Shame!” and “Freedom of Speech!” at officers and city staff.

A young woman has suffered minor injury in what appeared to be a scuffle with police.

Protesters have now left City Hall, which is completely surrounded by officers. Protesters appear to be marching north on Lavaca Street. A police motorcycle is diverting traffic in front of the the plaza.

About five people were arrested on criminal trespass charges, a city official said.

One member, Michelle Millett, called the police response “inhuman.”

“The city has failed continuously with its homeless issues. Our homeless population grows by the day. Just because they sweep them off the staircase that doesn’t mean they’ll disappear,” Millett said. “Give us a day at least to come up with a plan. That’s the common-sense thing to do.”

Watch live streaming video from occupyaustin at

Officials in recent months have contended with the rising costs of police overtime and maintaining cleanliness at City Hall as 30 to 40 people slept there for many weeks.

In mid-January, police officials said the cost of constant police patrols had climbed to about $110,000 to $115,000 every two weeks. City officials estimated Friday night that the movement has now cost taxpayers about $800,000 over the last few months.

Occupy Austin members said the 24-hour patrols were not warranted, but police officials have disagreed, saying 118 people have been arrested there between October and mid-January.

Police have said most of the previous arrests have involved criminal trespass or having outstanding warrants. Others have been arrested on suspicion of public intoxication, fighting, exposing themselves or other crimes.

For months, city officials said they had no plans to vacate the protesters because they were engaging in peaceful assembly protected by the First Amendment.

Photo: Jay Janner/American-Statesman

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