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Protest resumes after Denver police raid Occupy Wall Street camp

December 20, 2011 | 10:43 am

As many as 50 demonstrators returned to downtown Denver on Tuesday morning after police cleared out an Occupy Wall Street protest overnight, arresting nine, including one for setting makeshift structures on fire. 

This morning’s demonstration unfolded without incident, Lt. Matt Murray, a Denver Police Department spokesman, said in a telephone interview. Protesters will be allowed to continue their demonstration but they will not be permitted to build any structures, he said.

Police moved overnight against the structures, which Murray said had turned the downtown area near the Capitol and city buildings into a “shantytown,” with some constructions made out of wood. The protest site and park took up more than a quarter of a block, he said.

Under city law, protesters are not allowed to build structures either in the park or an the adjacent sidewalks, Murray said. Police have been trying to get the structures removed for weeks.

When police arrived at the scene late Monday night, some of the protesters set the structures on fire, Murray said. "In order to protect life and property, police called the fire department” to put out the fires. The remaining structures were then removed, he said.

One person was accused of felony arson, the most serious charge resulting from the incident.

No police or firefighters were injured, Murray said.

Occupy protests began in September in New York City, then spread through the nation. But officials, citing concerns about security and public safety, have been closing down the Occupy sites through the autumn.


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Photo: Police shove a protester as they move to evict Occupy Denver demonstrators from Civic Center Park. Credit: Daniel Petty/ Denver Post