Protesters arrested, challenged as police confront Occupy activists
Occupy activists and law enforcement authorities found themselves at odds in several U.S. cities over the weekend, including yet another tense showdown late Sunday afternoon in Portland, Oregon.
Police in riot gear and holding batons lined up for hours along a city street, face-to-face with activists who refused to clear the road and go onto the sidewalk. This confrontation came hours after Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson said more than a dozen people were arrested as authorities cleared Chapman Square, the last city park where protesters had gathered.
Simpson said the officers were in riot gear as a precaution, and were joined by other assisting agencies. “We needed the manpower because we used up a lot of resources yesterday (Saturday),” he said.
Mayor Sam Adams said late Sunday afternoon that “a series of increased drug overdoses… an arsonist that used the camp as camouflage and almost a 20% increase in crime surrounding the encampment” prompted the move.
“All of us are working really hard at keeping the peace and protecting freedom of expression,” Adams told CNN. “I support a lot of what the encampment stands for … (But) it shouldn’t be focused on port-a-potties and tents and encampments attracting criminal elements. I think this movement needs to evolve.”