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Monday, January 30, 2012

Charlotte Police Evict OCCUPY Charlotte Protesters! Several Arrested!

Charlotte Police Evict OCCUPY Charlotte Protesters!

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have begun to enforce a new city ordinance prohibiting Occupy protesters from camping on the old City Hall lawn Monday afternoon.

A number of officers have begun to take down tents on the old City Hall lawn around 2:30 p.m. and a CMPD paddywagon pulled out of police headquarters, prepared for possible large-scale arrests.

Several protesters were heard chanting while police took down tents from the lawn. NewsChannel 36's Tony Burbeck reported that at least six protesters were arrested by police.

Authorities have the right to evict or arrest anyone who is camping, living or sleeping at old City Hall. Under the new rules tents on public property are OK as protection from the elements.

But they are not allowed - if people use them as a temporary home to sleep in or have personal belongings

As of Monday, at least 20 tents remained on the city hall property, and protesters weren't sure if they complied with the new law.

We’re concerned, said protester Michael Zitkow. We want to know in the morning if people will be arrested or if tents or private structures will be torn down.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Capt. Jeff Estes and other CMPD command staff met with the protesters to go over the rules Sunday evening.

If you have a shelter that is not in compliance, you will be warned to remove that property before any action is taken, Capt. Estes is seen telling the protesters on cell phone video captured by Zitkow.

Capt. Estes also read a warning about the ordinance to the protesters and passed out copies for them to read. It read, As of Monday, January 30th, 2012, any temporary shelter located on city property is deemed to be a public nuisance and must be removed immediately.

The warning said any shelter not removed in time would be removed by officers, and anyone interfering with the removal would be subject to arrest. The items for removal would be determined on a case-by-case basis.

The protesters said Sunday night that their understanding of the ordinance is that only tents used for sleeping would be removed. Now they're not sure.

Laurel Green opened the tent she'd been sleeping in. She said she won't sleep in it anymore, but the tent is also being used as a place where protesters can “express themselves through art.

She's not sure if the bin of crayons and markers would be considered living accommodations or personal belongings under the new rules.

I am hoping I will be able to advocate for this as part of Occupy Charlotte, she said.

The protesters said they don’t want to be arrested, but they do want to continue to make their presence known around the clock.

Most people out here plan to be in compliance with these rules, said Zitkow. And plan to clear their tents of all barred materials and any storage or living purposes and have their tents open to show were in compliance with these rules."

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Sources: WCNC, Google Maps

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