Police arrested protesters at Occupy encampments in Albany, Salt Lake City, Denver, Portland, and elsewhere over the weekend, as local governments took steps toward enforcing rules against a movement without plans to end on its own. In Oregon, Portland mayor Sam Adams ordered the camp be closed on Saturday at midnight because of health conditions and dangerous stragglers, but protesters resisted, and more than 50 were arrested in clashes with police. At Occupy Oakland, currently the site of the most sustained police violence among Occupy events nationwide, demonstrators are again being warned that it's time to go.
Oakland mayor Jean Quan allowed protesters to return to their City Hall encampment late last month after multiple tear gas battles between police and protesters, including one that critically wounded Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen. Olsen suffered a fractured skull, but was released from the hospital last week. A shooting in the vicinity of the camp last week has again ignited demands that the group leave the area. "Oakland is not afraid. We're not afraid of our tents being taken away, of the movement being stymied," said one media team member in California.
In Portland, police really did move in, arresting dozens while swinging nightsticks and warning protesters over a loudspeaker that they "may also be subject to chemical agents and impact weapons." Protesters chanted, "We are a peaceful protest," but Mayor Adams warned, "This is not a game." Twenty-four protesters were also arrested over the weekend at Occupy Albany for ignoring a park curfew, while nineteen were arrested Saturday in Salt Lake City.
The original encampment at Zuccotti Park has been comparatively tranquil since some flashes of darkness late last week, and the weekend's biggest story was a union:
In front of about a dozen friends and onlookers, Emery Abdel-Latif, 24, and Micha Balon, 19, held a traditional Muslim wedding on Trinity Place and Liberty Street, perched on a small bench next to the park's famous sculpture of a seated man with a briefcase.
"We have to be able to understand truly how unique this relationship is," said Khalid Latif, the chaplain at New York University who married the eager duo.
"You have been given a deep blessing today," he said.
As far as we know, Mayor Bloomberg and Brookfield Properties, which owns the park, have not yet sent their congratulations.