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Police: at least 24 arrested at Occupy Denver protest

10:54 PM, Oct 15, 2011   |    comments
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INTERACTIVE: A look at the Occupy Wall Street protests

Denver Police said they cleared the protestors off Broadway about 6:30 p.m. after the protestors refused to move out of the street. Police say there was at least one instance where pepper spray was used to subdue protestors.

Crowds swelled around noon Saturday, and reporters on the scene estimated between 2,000 and 3,000 people participated in the march.

About 8 p.m., the crowds moved to 16th Street Mall. The crowds forced RTD to shut down service along 16th Street for over an hour.

Mayor Michael Hancock addressed the situation Saturday night.

"We still want to do all we can to protect individuals rights to free speech," Hancock said. "But we are not going to allow anyone to sit in the middle of the street."

Governor John Hickenlooper issued the following statement Saturday evening: "We respect the First Amendment, but we can't condone illegal activity. State troopers and Denver police are showing great restraint in the face of very difficult situations. The governor and senior staff have closely monitored the situation in downtown Denver all day and continue to do so. We urge all protesters to obey the law."

Pam Robertson and her son Sam came to protest in Downtown Denver Saturday.

"As my sign says my children are not for profit," Robertson said. "I'm really interested in ending the corporate takeover of our public schools."

Her message was one of many on signs that read "end the fed" and "we are the 99%."

If there's any message from this movement - there's a lot of movement and messages.

"Go after the politicians that are bought by the corporations and the banks," said one protestor with a bull horn.

Saturday did not have the police presence like Friday.

Early Friday morning, 23 people were arrested when authorities moved people off the state land of Veteran's Park to Civic Center Park. The arrests were not violent, and while troopers wore riot gear, no pepper spray or tear gas was used when they moved in and closed the park.

"[Police] couldn't take the people," said one protestor. "We are still here."

Veteran's Park, also known as Lincoln Park, was reopened on Saturday at 11 a.m. after hours of clean up and repairs. The Colorado State Patrol says troopers will be present at the park to make sure all park rules are being followed. CSP says the park will close at 11 p.m. and reopen Sunday at 5 a.m. No tents or shelters will be allowed without a permit from the Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration.

The removal of campers on Friday is being called a textbook response by both police and protesters. Richard Klassen says he refused to leave the park and was charged with unlawful conduct on public property, along with most of the other people who were arrested.

"Most of the world's going to look at this and say, 'How'd you do it?' This was a model operation. That you were able to go in, with no violence, and minimal arrests disrupt what could have been a potentially volatile situation," Gov. John Hickenlooper said on Friday.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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