Newark's police chief greeted about two dozen people who came to a park in New Jersey's largest city Friday to begin an "Occupy Newark" protest. Police Chief Sheila Coley welcomed the group at Military Park by saying they had a right to protest non-violently and that police were there to ensure their safety. The protesters spoke in a call-and-repeat form of communication, called "the people's mic," chanting their appreciation to Coley for showing up. Coley told the group she would waive the permit normally required to assemble in a city park and allow them to remain.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is arguing that the several thousand protesters who marched over the Brooklyn Bridge Thursday don't really represent Occupy Wall Street. The mayor said in his weekly WOR Radio show Friday that "a vast percentage" of the marchers were union members who "had organized signs and leadership." Bloomberg said the protest "was just an opportunity for a bunch of unions to complain or to protest, or whatever they want to do." The mayor also said that of the roughly 250 people who were arrested in Thursday's protests, three were charged with felonies.
A 20-year-old Occupy Wall Street protester bloodied after a confrontation with New York City police has pleaded not guilty grand larceny and other charges. A lawyer for Brandon Watts said Friday his client was assaulted by police and has four staples in his scalp because of his injuries. Police say Watts may have been injured in a fall during the confrontation. They say he threw batteries at officers, and then stole an officer's hat. Watts has been arrested five times since the protest began two months ago. He has been living on his own since his early teens and has emotional problems, his lawyer said.
As many as 300 Occupy Eugene protesters spent an afternoon demonstrating at bank offices, and 17 were arrested. Members of the group told police in advance Thursday they were planning civil disobedience, and the police told bankers they wouldn't move against the protesters unless people refused to move on when asked. The Eugene Register-Guard reported (http://bit.ly/vL55zP ) that arrests, mostly for trespassing, were made at two bank offices, Bank of America and Chase, but not at three others. One person was charged with resisting arrest. Most of the banks managed to carry on at least some customer business during the protest.
Police have arrested about a dozen members of the Occupy Philadelphia movement who were protesting at a bank downtown. The protesters refused to leave the Wells Fargo branch on Friday evening and were arrested peacefully. Police Lt. Raymond Evers did not immediately release the number of demonstrators arrested or the charges they face. About two dozen members of Occupy Philadelphia were arrested on Thursday during a protest on the Market Street bridge.
The Philadelphia protesters were also working Friday to get permits for a new site after they were rebuffed in their attempt to move from the City Hall plaza where they have been camped since early October. The city has asked the protesters to move to make way for a long-planned $50 million renovation of their current home, Dilworth Plaza. After a vote Thursday, protesters began packing up their approximately 350 tents and moving across the street to another plaza. But they were rebuffed by police because they didn't have a permit for the new location. A spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter said the city had received one permit application and was reviewing it, a process that could take until early next week.
In Harrisburg, public works employees have confiscated the tents of Occupy Harrisburg protesters at a park near the state Capitol. A spokesman for Mayor Linda Thompson says the tent removal at Riverfront Park began around 1:30 p.m. after the mayor issued a two-hour warning. Spokesman Robert Philbin says protesters are free to be at the park without tents until 10 p.m. and that the city is trying to find a vacant private property in the city where they can protest with tents. Jefferson Pepper, an Occupy Harrisburg organizer, says 10 to 20 people have been protesting at the park in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street in New York.
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