Denver police spokesperson Sonny Jackson says around 4 p.m., police asked protestors to remove a food table that was on the park property. Nobody claimed the table and no one was removing it. Jackson says protestors then became upset and started surrounding a police car. One female protestor was arrested after pushing a police officer. A man who tried to come to her aid was also arrested.
The protests resumed again Sunday after 17 people were arrested Saturday. Jackson says the arrests were made for interfering with police officers who removed illegally pitched tents. Jackson says police had advised protesters since Thursday that their tents in Civic Center Park and on a nearby sidewalk were illegal.
"You cannot set up chairs and beds and things of that nature in the right of way," Jackson said. "This is a public safety issue - when you have people that have to walk around these things that are blocking the sidewalk, having to walk almost to the street, having them basically trip hazards and things like that, we have to be conscious of that."
Some of the protestors made an effort to break down their camps before the police moved in, loading their items into cars and trucks, but their efforts were too late. Police wearing riot gear moved into the camp, forcing the protestors out as cleaning crews moved in. Denver police say they did not use tear gas, pepper spray, or any other less-lethal crowd control systems on the protestors.
Other protesters blocked a nearby Colfax Avenue, which riot police quickly cleared. Police officers also doused a bonfire with a fire extinguisher. Protesters have been marching in Denver for six straight Saturdays - with dwindling numbers.
Police say some of the items they seized from the camp can be reclaimed at a later time.
"We are going to take anything that appears to be property to the property bureau and they can collect that at a later day," Jackson said. "It won't be today or tomorrow, but we will put out a notification as to when people can get those items and anything that appeared to be trash, we took to the dump."
On Friday, protesters who said they were with Occupy Denver tried to disrupt a conservative blogger conference at a downtown hotel. One man was arrested for trespassing.
(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)