Occupy protestor arrested at Tranquility Park

November 18, 2011 8:57:10 PM PST
Tensions are rising at 'Occupy' protests across the country, including the one here in Houston.

Protesters returned to Zuccotti Park in New York last night even though they are no longer allowed to camp there. Police in riot gear forcibly ejected people from the park yesterday morning and arrested roughly 200 people. A judge ruled protesters could stay in the park, but without the tents, generators and other items which have allowed them to stay there for two months.

In Seattle, police used pepper spray on at least two groups of occupy protesters yesterday. They also arrested six people. Police say protesters received verbal warnings and the pepper spray was only used on combative protesters and those who were blocking streets. Protesters say an 84-year-old woman was one of those hit by pepper spray.

And a shooting inside the business school at UC Berkeley disrupted protests yesterday. Officials have not said if the shooter was associated with the protests. However, 4,000 demonstrators returned to the area hours later to vote on a list of demands.

There have also been a few issues at the Occupy protest here in Houston.

The protesters have been set up at Tranquility Park for weeks now and yesterday, at least one was arrested when the fire marshal tried to point out a number of safety concerns.

Occupy Houston protesters say they thought they were allowed to use tarp to protect things like food and electrical equipment. So after the rain yesterday, they pulled out the tarp and when they refused to remove it, they say police and fire officials went to work. In the end, one protester was arrested

Yesterday, HFD and HPD officers inspected the area for safety hazards that, according to HFD, involved electrical cords under water and exposed live wires. But moments before that, Occupy Houston protesters say a group of protesters had banded together chanting and singing, refusing to remove tarp covering tables filled with food, medical supplies and electrical equipment.

Occupy Houston protesters say they were told by officers that the tarps were in violation because they acted as tents, which are prohibited. Protesters say when they didn't budge, police removed the tarp themselves.

"If the reason they were taking them is because the tents were prohibited, then I don't think that was fair," said protestor Diane Schluter. "I think they were really stretching that definition because really what we were doing was protecting our supplies."

Police confirmed one protester was arrested after he disobeyed orders and blocked police access.

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