13 Arrests as Occupy New Haven Camp Closes

The protesters, believed to live in one of the last Occupy encampments in New England, have been in a legal battle with the city.

Thirteen Occupy New Haven protesters were arrested as police moved them from their camp on the New Haven Green on Wednesday morning.

The city began cleaning up the green on Wednesday afternoon and officials estimate that the cost for cleanup will be $25,000, while the city expects the whole cost associated with the protest will be around $145,000 in taxpayer money. 

The city also plans to assess the property to ensure that the trees are healthy because they have not been properly watered.

The deadline for the protesters to leave was 8 a.m. after the group lost its appeal in federal court in New York on Tuesday.

Occupy signs were gone and most of the tents were down before that. 

However, some protesters said they were not leaving and about a dozen locked arms, refusing to move. Some plan to return to the Green to hold a general assembly at 6:30 p.m.

Police physically removed 10 people from the green on Wednesday morning.

All 13 people arrested were charged with disorderly conduct and interfering with an officer and are due in court on April 27. 

After protesters were removed, workers in hazmat suits checked the remaining tents.

Last Tuesday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals granted a temporary stay so the eight named plaintiffs could stay on the green until April 17, according to the city of New Haven's Twitter account.

However, city officials said they could not distinguish tents, so they suspended the operation to clear the Green.

But, the court decided that the city could force the group to move today and attorney Norm Pattis said, via Facebook on Tuesday, that there is nothing more that the federal courts can do.

"Once again, the court's action today was decisive. The plaintiffs have no meaningful chance of success. The City of New Haven has respected the rule of law and we expect that members of Occupy New Haven will do the same," city officials said in a news release on Tuesday.

Attorney Irving Pinksy said on Tuesday morning that he planned to file an injunction in state court to try to keep the protesters on the Green and some Occupiers had been hoping that the state court stops the eviction.

The protesters, believed to live in one of the last Occupy encampments in New England, if not the United States, had been living on the privately owned property that the city maintains since Oct. 15, 2011.

Pattis had argued that city officials could not force the activists to leave the Green because it is private property. 

City officials said Occupy New Haven failed to recognize that the Green is a public space for all and the activists are essentially seeking to have the Green declared their own private property. 

“This is not the end of activism. This is not the end of the organization. It's not the end of the fight, if you want to call it that. I've already heard people say they're going to come back here tomorrow, they're going to come back here the next day,” Nick Wyllie said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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