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3 arrested in Occupy Riverside encampment raid

Three people were arrested as police moved in to clear the Occupy encampment in downtown Riverside on Wednesday.
November 30, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Three people were arrested as police moved in to clear the Occupy encampment in downtown Riverside on Wednesday.

The operation started just after 6 a.m. At first, a small group of Riverside police officers moved in, asking people in the encampment to remove their tents from the pedestrian walkway just north of City Hall in downtown Riverside

All the while, nearly 100 additional officers waited with masks, batons, and guns with rubber pellets.

"I'm not leaving. I'm going to stay," said Riverside resident Beth O'Leary. "Even if it means an arrest."

O'Leary was one of many people who removed their belongings peacefully but stayed around to protest.

"I know people think that we're unemployed and looking for a handout and that we're all homeless. That's not the case. I'm not homeless. I have two jobs. I have kids. I have responsibilities. I have to be at work at 11 o'clock and I've been up all night long," said O'Leary.

Police said there were about 40 tents. Nearly every demonstrator removed the tents peacefully. Only a few had to be confiscated by city work crews.

"It's gone very smoothly. We've encountered minimal, minimal non compliance and no violence, so that's the most important thing for us," said Riverside Police Department Chief Sergio Diaz.

The first arrest came about an hour into the operation when a woman refused to leave her tent.

Two more people were arrested soon afterward for refusing to comply with officers' requests.

After about two hours, all of the tents were gone and the pedestrian walkway was cleaned up.

However, many of the protestors of Occupy Riverside say their voices and their message will not go away.

"We are not going anywhere. We are staying. We believe what we're fighting for is right, which is restoring economic and political justice," said Riverside resident Mayia Shulga.

By shortly before noon, all of the Occupy demonstrators had cleared out of the walkway, but many vowed they'd be back to protest.

Meantime, about 200 people were arrested just after midnight Wednesday as police officers raided the 2-month-old Occupy L.A. encampment two days after the eviction deadline.

See photos of protesters gathered around City Hall past the eviction deadline.


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