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Published: Saturday, 10/29/2011

Some cities content to let Occupy groups protest


NEW YORK -- While more U.S. cities are resorting to force to break up the Wall Street protests, many others -- Philadelphia, New York, Minneapolis, and Portland, Ore., among them -- are content to let the demonstrations go on for now.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said Friday that the several hundred protesters sleeping in Zuccotti Park, the unofficial headquarters of the movement that began in mid-September, can stay as long as they obey the law.

"I can't talk about other cities," he said. "Our responsibilities are protect your rights and your safety. And I think we're trying to do that. We're trying to act responsibly and safely."

Still, the city made life harder for the demonstrators: Fire inspectors seized a dozen cans of gasoline and six generators that powered lights, cooking equipment, and laptops, saying they were safety hazards.

In the span of three days this week, police broke up protest encampments in Oakland, Atlanta, and, early Friday, San Diego, and Nashville.

In the most serious clashes of the movement so far, more than 100 people were arrested and a 24-year-old Iraq War veteran suffered a skull fracture after Oakland police armed with tear gas and bean bag rounds broke up a 15-day encampment and repulsed an effort by demonstrators to retake the site.

State troopers in Nashville cracked down after authorities imposed a curfew on the protest. Twenty-nine people were arrested and later released after a judge said the demonstrators were not given enough time to comply with the brand-new rule. They received citations for trespassing instead.

Fifty-one people were arrested in San Diego, where authorities descended on a three-week-old encampment at the Civic Center Plaza and Children's Park and removed tents, canopies, tables, and other furniture.

Locally, more than 50 participants of Occupy Toledo meeting in Levis Square last night decided by consensus to delay what one man described as a "nonviolent act of civil disobedience" -- putting up tents.

City officials have said that Occupy Toledo cannot erect canopies or tents in Levis Square.

The decision to delay action was pending the outcome of talks that Occupy Toledo's attorneys plan to arrange with city officials.

At issue, in part, is whether a proposal for Occupy Toledo to use the square was filed on the right form.

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