Monday, February 13, 2012

Occupy Houston gets forcibly evicted *update*

About 6:45 p.m., after giving notice two hours earlier, HPD moved in on horses and bicycles.

Video streaming by Ustream
(skip to the 1:05:30 mark)

The scene at 6:30 p.m.:

At 6:30PM #OCCUPYHOUSTON stil alive. #BREAKINGNEWS   on Twitpic

The scene about 6:40 p.m.:

Protestor run a cross street heading to Main ST #OCCUPYHOUSTON   on Twitpic

Update: KTRK, who broke this news first yesterday about two hours before the eviction, follows up.

Four months ago, Occupy Houston began with big crowds and big ideas. But on Monday, the city said Occupy Houston's time is up.

Police began moving in at dark to clear the park but the protestors stuck around for a while. On one side of the park were the protestors. Just inside were police.

After several months at Tranquility Park, Occupy Houston members were told it was time to leave.

"They are trying to force us into the park so they can do a mass arrest, that will not happen. We are Occupy Houston, we are a lot smarter than they think," protester Shere Dore said.

A few hours earlier, the group was notified this would be their last day here.

"To stand up for what's right and what I believe in, yes, I would go to jail for that," protester Capital Baker said.

At dark, the protestors left as a group, leaving many things behind at the place park they've used as headquarters to spread their message of financial reform.

But they stuck around, circling the area and climbing the steps of City Hall.

As police moved in, Houston Mayor Annise Parker attended a community meeting after giving the notice to vacate earlier in the day, adding that the park needs to be cleared for upcoming festivals. Police presence the past few months has cost the city $350,000.

"We want to make sure that the park is in good shape for those upcoming events and this will give us time to do this, and it also seemed like they needed a little nudge to move on," Parker said.

Shortly after the barricades went up, the group said a final goodbye.

"They want to fight over Tranquility Park, they can have it. We're Occupy Houston, we're not Occupy Tranquility Park," protester Carlos Villalobos said.

Go read Neil for now. I'll have something later.

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