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Riverside police arrest 11 protesters

November 6, 2011 |  9:07 pm

Riverside police arrested 11 “Occupy Riverside” protesters near City Hall on Sunday afternoon after several demonstrators allegedly refused to remove tents from the public plaza, authorities said.

The officers responded to the protest site at Main and 9th streets around 3 p.m. and ordered protesters to take down their tents, saying that erecting structures in the pedestrian plaza was not allowed.

“Normally we go out there and ask them to move the tents and they do so. Today they decided on civil disobedience and formed a human chain around the tents,” Riverside Police Lt. Chuck Griffitts said.

Griffitts said eight protesters were arrested on suspicion of resisting or delaying an officer and two on suspicion of assaulting an officer. One protester was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly throwing a full soda can at an officer. All were booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center in downtown Riverside.

Through Twitter messages and video postings on You Tube, members of Occupy Riverside accused the officers of brutality and criticized law enforcement for arresting peaceful, unarmed protesters.

Occupy Riverside member Kathryn Stevenson, 35, said the police raid Sunday afternoon was unprovoked.

“It got pretty violent out there -- the cops were in riot gear,” said Stevenson, a teacher at Moreno Valley College.

Stevenson said that officers had been warning since Friday that they may break up the protest. She suspects that city leaders feared that the protest might disrupt the upcoming holiday light festival on the plaza and nearby Mission Inn.

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-- Phil Willon

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