6 arrested at Occupy Miami
MIAMI (WSVN) -- Police have arrested a few of the Occupy Miami protesters who refused to move from outside of the Government Center in Downtown Miami after being order to leave.
A confirmed number of six arrests were made when authorities tried to clear out the Occupy Miami encampment outside of the Government Center, Tuesday night. The charges ranged from loitering and prowling to inciting a riot and obstruction.
Protesters were given until sunset Tuesday to vacate the downtown park. The group was given a notice from the County, that stated, due to unsanitary conditions, their week-to-week permit would no longer be renewed.
Once the deadline passed, authorities prepared to move the protesters out. Police officers arrived in the area dressed in protective gear and equipment with plastic handcuffs at the ready. Police also asked the public to stay out of the area prior to moving in.
The Miami-Dade Police Department's Rapid Deployment Force, a specialized unit trained for these particular situations, lined three sides of the park. Then, in a surprising move, the remaining protesters egged police on by building a pseudo barricade by playing instruments and dancing around inside.
Eventually, police began to march toward the protesters, forcing all but six to the end of the lawn. Even then, a still small but angry group stood in the face of police, refusing to retreat any further. A handful of protesters, who were sitting, locked arm-in-arm in the center of the west lawn outside the Government Center, forced police to physically remove them.
Earlier in the day, some protesters indicated they might stay. One man said they had burned the eviction notice last night and stated they would not be going anywhere on their own. "We decided last night that we're going to stay, and we're going to hold the grounds," said Chris Mazorra.
Some of the regular protesters at the camp were not surprised the county came to the decision. "The movement has to evolve into something more sophisticated," said Raul Sorondo. "This part wasn't going to last forever either."
The Occupy movement has lasted nearly four months. Other Occupy demonstrations across the country have resulted in violence and arrests, something the Miami movement had not seen until Tuesday night.
In the meantime, the fight remains far from over. Just a few feet away from the very spot they were forced from, as the clean up continued Wednesday morning, protesters again gathered peacefully, thinking of their next plan. Jonathan Brand, one of the protesters, said, "We're brainstorming. We're regrouping. We're just talking to everybody about what happened last night, ways that we want to start mobilizing everybody and start bringing the message out to the neighborhoods."
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