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Occupy protesters arrested; is this their last push until spring?

December 18, 2011 |  9:27 am

Police officer guards entrance to vacant lot near Duarte Park

More than 50 Occupy Wall Street protesters reportedly were arrested Saturday as they tried to make a vacant lot adjacent to New York's Duarte Square into their new Zuccotti Park. 

At least one report says this could be the movement's last hurrah before spring.

Hundreds of Occupy protesters were on the march Saturday. They were stopped by police after using a wooden ladder to climb over a chain-link fence into a lot owned by Trinity Church, Reuters reports. A National Lawyers Guild official put the number of arrested at 55, according to the report, including five to 10 clergy. Police removed Occupy campers from Zuccotti Park, their previous home base, in Lower Manhattan on Nov. 15.

FULL COVERAGE: Occupy protests

The first protester over the fence Saturday -- and among those taken into custody -- reportedly was retired Episcopal Bishop George Packard. The New York Post says Packard is a former chaplain for the armed services and decorated Vietnam veteran and has tried to help negotiate with Trinity Church to use church-owned property as a new base for the Occupy movement in New York.

Packard's blog, which details his involvement in the Occupy movement, was updated by his wife Saturday.

In the crush of police and chanting protesters, I looked up to see George up and over the fence into Trinity's vacant lot. OWS had built a pretty sturdy stairway (Bob Vila and other handy folk, take note). Others followed. I pushed through the crowd to take a video. "My husband is there ... please." The protesters amiably made room.

According to the Mother Jones blog, organizers said this attempt at a new encampment was probably their last until spring, "and the whole thing felt nostalgic even before it was over." One sign carried by protesters read: "I left my heart in Zuccotti Park."

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-- Amy Hubbard+

Photo: A New York police officer guards the entrance to Duarte Square on Saturday after Occupy Wall Street protesters attempted to create a new encampment. Credit: John Minchillo / Associated Press

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