‘Occupy Berkeley’ protesters remain, Tucson camp shut down
BERKELEY, California (Reuters) – Anti-Wall Street protesters remained in a camp of about 20 tents in the Northern California college town of Berkeley on Thursday, a day after authorities threatened to stop overnight camping.
Rising tensions over a possible eviction in Berkeley came as authorities in Tuscon, Arizona, said they had shut down a similar camp at a park in that city.
Two protesters were arrested overnight in Berkeley, one for public drunkenness and one for shoving an officer, said Sergeant Mary Kusmiss, a spokeswoman for the Berkeley Police Department.
The Occupy camp remains in the city’s Civic Center Park. On Wednesday, the city distributed flyers announcing plans to enforce a 10 p.m. curfew on the site, citing a rash of violence and other criminal behavior.
Protesters on Wednesday feared that a raid was imminent, but with their encampment still in place a day later, some in the group claimed victory.
Kusmiss said protesters are allowed to be in the park from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. She declined to say how the department would enforce the nighttime curfew or discuss what its strategy was to deal with overnight camping.
“We were very grateful that there were individuals who left voluntarily,” she said.
A sister Occupy protest on the nearby campus of the University of California at Berkeley, a cradle of 1960s student activism, was broken up in November by campus police who struck some students and faculty members with nightsticks.
In Tucson, police on Wednesday night cleared camping and other equipment from an Occupy camp in a city park, officials said.
Protesters had been at the park since November 3, and there were up to 10 of them at various times, but a high number of crimes at the site led to the decision to shut it down, said city spokesman Michael Graham.
Tucson police said they arrested one demonstrator who went back to the park after it was closed for the night.
(Reporting by Laird Harrison: Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis)
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Photo credit: Michael Prados