Live updates from Occupy Phoenix

The Occupy Phoenix protest took place Saturday at Cesar Chavez Plaza in downtown Phoenix before moving to nearby Margaret T. Hance Park in the late afternoon. The protest culminated with the arrests of about 40 protesters who refused to leave Hance Park after it closed.

1:28 a.m. — Phoenix Police are leaving Hance Park.

1:16 a.m. — About 40 protesters are still mulling around the general area surrounding Hance Park.

The remaining crowd of protesters who had been around the park entrance are dispersing. Most are currently on the sidewalk.

Phoenix Police arrested about 40 Occupy Phoenix demonstrators in Margaret T. Hance Park late Saturday night after negotiations to allow an overnight occupation between protest organizers and city officials failed. (Mauro Whiteman/DD)

12:58 a.m. — All Occupy Phoenix protesters remaining in Hance Park have been taken into custody by the Phoenix Police Department. In total, about 40 protesters may have been arrested.

12:50 a.m. — From our counts, about 30 Occupy Phoenix protesters have been removed and placed in Phoenix PD personnel vehicles. Only about a dozen protesters remain in the circle formation.

12:40 a.m. — About 25 protesters have now been removed from the circle formed at Hance Park.

12:37 a.m. — Police have now removed almost 20 protesters from the circle formed at Hance Park. Protesters are being removed in pairs.

12:28 a.m. — Phoenix police continue to cuff protesters in pairs. As many as 13 total have been cuffed and possibly arrested.

At least one officer has used pepper spray on a protester.

12:24 a.m. — An additional two protesters were cuffed and appear to have been arrested. The police may have arrested as many as seven protesters total now.

12:22 a.m. — Police have dragged two protesters from the circle and placed them in personnel vehicles.

12:21 a.m. — Police are a few yards away and their flash lights are strobing on the circle of protesters.

12:20 a.m. — Police are 5 yards away.

12:18 a.m. — Police have made a quarter-circle formation and are moving closer to the protesters. They remain about 20 yards away.

12:16 a.m. — Police tore down a tent set out by protesters. No one appears to have been inside.

12:13 a.m. — At least two more arrests have been made. Police have put on gas masks are now 30 to 40 yards from the core group.

12:05 a.m. — Riot police have closed the distance between them and the remaining protesters. Police are now less than 100 yards away from protesters.

Video by Mauro Whiteman

11:51 p.m. — The police helicopter just flew overhead and announced a final warning: “Leave or you will be arrested.”

Almost 40 people remain locked in a circle and are refusing to leave.

11:45 p.m. — Two bomb squad officers emptied a trash can and were searching for signs of a suspicious device.

The officers appear to have found nothing. Protesters approached the trash left on the ground and placed it back in the trash can.

11:41 p.m. — A group of about 30 protesters have locked arms and are sitting in a circle. Many are wearing masks. Medical personnel are standing by with milk and vinegar, which is used to neutralize the effects of pepper spray and tear gas.

11:37 p.m. — The first arrest has been made. What appears to be a young male adult is in cuffs and surrounded by three police officers.

11:28 p.m. — A police helicopter is flying over the crowd and is asking the protesters through a megaphone to disperse.

A core group of about 100 protesters are standing in the playground, but more remain in the immediate area.

11:17 p.m. — The police are dressed in riot gear and have their pepper-spray canisters out. They are moving in closer on the remaining protesters. First-aid respondents have moved to the adjacent street and are off park grounds.

A police SUV is parked about 40 feet away from the protesters.

11:04 p.m. — The crowd is thinning out substantially but many protesters remain near the playground area. The police continue to move closer and are telling people to vacate immediately. The police are stating that journalists are not protected from arrest, Det. Wilson said.

10:57p.m. — Police have said the protesters have 15 minutes to disperse before arrests begin. Police are all moving to the east end of Hance Park and it appears they are going to move from there to round up and arrest the protesters who remain in Hance Park.

9:34 p.m. — Sgt. Tucker said the Phoenix Police will not kill the lights at Hance Park and will not rush into the crowd of Occupy Phoenix protesters after the park closes at 10 p.m. Tucker said the police are still unsure if arrests will be made if demonstrators refuse to leave.

9:16 p.m. — Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon has told Downtown Devil that if people protesting “Arpaio, Pearce and SB 1070” at Hance Park are arrested, he will head down and join them in being arrested.

8:35 p.m. — Det. Chris Wilson confirmed that City Manager David Cavazos is coming to Hance Park to speak with police about the situation. It is unknown whether Cavazos will speak directly with organizers, Wilson said.

“Right now it’s still up in the air,” Wilson said. “We don’t know (if people will be able to stay overnight).”

8:29 p.m. — Phoenix City Manager David Cavazos is tentatively scheduled to arrive at Hance Park to negotiate with protesters, according to organizers.

8:04 p.m. — Phoenix Police met with negotiators from the protest and said they will allow protesters to stay at Hance Park until 10 a.m. Sunday. The Phoenix city manager has not confirmed that these plans have been approved, however,  Det. Chris Wilson said. In the meantime, police are trying to determine where protesters can be permanently relocated.

7:36 p.m. — Phoenix Police are now saying that Hance Park officially closes at 10 p.m. and they are allowing protesters a half-hour grace period.

7:27 p.m. — Joe Murphy, Councilman Nowakowski’s chief of staff, said the city is unable to allow Occupy Phoenix to stay in Hance Park overnight. By allowing Occupy Phoenix to stay, the city would be setting a precedent for other groups to camp overnight, Murphy said.

For example, Murphy said, the National Socialist Movement has already approached city officials about camping overnight at Hance Park for a planned protest in November.

An Occupy Phoenix protester leads chants at Margaret T. Hance Park late Saturday afternoon. (Stephanie Snyder/DD)

Organizer Jason Odhner said the city is being unreasonable.

“The crux of this is, if you let us stay but not the Nazis, that’s selective enforcement, but anti-camping laws are all about selective enforcement,” said Odhner, adding that authorities use selective enforcement to remove the homeless from parks.

Odhner said the police can decide on a case-by-case basis whether to enforce anti-camping laws. The police have also said there have been reports of noise complaints, but Odhner said drums being played in the adjacent Japanese Friendship Garden are louder than the protest.

7:13 p.m. — Occupy Phoenix began distributing food to protesters starting at 7 p.m. All of the food and water has been donated, said Tania Perez, an Occupy Phoenix organizer. Phoenix Food Not Bombs has donated apples, grapes, bread and potato chips. Meals of ham, rice, onions and potatoes have been privately donated and are most of the food being distributed.

7:15 p.m. — Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski has arrived and is taking to the Phoenix Police Department.

7:00 p.m.  — Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski will be arriving at the later tonight, said Jason Odhner, an organizer and nurse with Phoenix Urban Health Collective. Odhner said the Occupy Phoenix protesters will try to negotiate through Nowakowski to allow them to stay in Hance Park after it closes at 10:30 p.m.

6:55 p.m. — Phoenix Police are now saying that Margaret T. Hance Park closes at 10:30 p.m. and that arrests will begin at that time if protesters refuse to leave. Officers will begin asking demonstrators to leave around 10:15 p.m. The crowd continues to thin and there are now about 300 protesters occupying the park.

6:14 p.m. — The protest has thinned considerably since relocating from Cesar Chavez Plaza. Between 600 and 800 demonstrators remain in Hance Park.

5: 59 p.m. — Det. Chris Wilson said they will disperse the crowd by first having their plain-clothed officers tell the protest leaders the crowd must vacant Margaret T. Hance Park at 11 p.m. If the demonstrators refuse to leave, they will be subject to arrest, Wilson said.

Wilson said he was unaware of another location the protesters could occupy after 11 p.m.

5:33 p.m. — The protesters are currently shifting their location slightly west after police asked because of a wedding currently in progress. They are now closer to the playground area of the park.

Anser Martin, an Occupy Phoenix protester who established himself as a leader of the demonstration, chants slogans to fellow protesters as they march along Third Avenue. The protesters relocated from Cesar Chavez Plaza to Hance Park late Saturday afternoon. (Jack Fitzpatrick/DD)

5:24 p.m. — Occupy Phoenix protesters have arrived at Hance Park after a peaceful march up Third Avenue. Protesters were very cooperative with the police, chanting slogans such as “We will — cooperate — with the police!” and “We will — occupy the side walk — not the street!” At one point, the protesters stopped in a grassy area west of Hance Park and across the street from the Kenilworth School, which some of them appeared to think was Hance Park. After a brief stop last a minute or two, the protesters turned around and began flooding into Hance Park.

4:47 p.m. — Occupy Phoenix protesters are marching up Third Avenue toward Hance Park and staying along the sidewalks. Police are blocking off streets as the protesters cross street intersections.

4:08 p.m. — Local businesses — and big chain corporations — are experiencing a small boost in sales from Occupy Phoenix protesters.

The crowd began dispersing at about 1 p.m. and thinned to about 1,000 protesters at 4 p.m., as protesters left to rest and get lunch. Dozens went to nearby CityScape, but not all of the anti-corporation protesters supported small, local businesses. Protesters filled several tables at Five Guys Burgers and Jimmy John’s, while nearby local restaurants saw fewer customers.

Tony Flores, a cashier at Vitamin T, said the restaurant had “a little jump” in customers around 3 p.m., but that he only saw one person who seemed to be coming from Occupy Phoenix.

Video by Daniel Zayas

Ji Jie Vo, a waitress at Thai Elephant, said she saw protesters passing by the restaurant but that she only had two tables filled by protesters.

Cliff Smith, a 49-year-old protester from Mesa, visited Thai Elephant and said he made a point of avoiding chain restaurants.

“I think it is the general attitude of the protest to support local businesses, but I think a lot of the protesters don’t have a lot of money and are getting food from volunteers,” Smith said.

Layal Rabat, a member of the Occupy Phoenix media team, said she used Twitter and Facebook to heavily encourage protesters to support local businesses. She said one reason the protest was moving to Hance Park was because of the saturation of small, local businesses nearby on Roosevelt Row.

4:01 p.m. — A hip-hop concert ran at the Cesar Chavez Park from 2 to 4 p.m, featuring local artists RoQ’y Tyraid, V-Prolific, Loki, DJ Pearlie Cue, Maldito Angel, and Optimal. Danielle Nieto, 30, is a friend of the artists and organized the performance. “Each revolutionary or civil rights movement had music,” Nieto said. “The hip-movement is part of the 99 percent and we want to represent that part of the culture.”

Occupy Phoenix protesters have gathered at Cesar Chavez Plaza in downtown Phoenix. (Jack Fitzpatrick/DD)

3:42 p.m. — Check out a slide show of photos from Occupy Phoenix here.

2:36 p.m. — Cyndi Whitmore, a volunteer also with Standing on the Side with Love, said they have about 50 cases of water bottles available and more are coming. About 110 gallons of water were donated and they have a few reusable water coolers. The organization expects another 110 gallons to be donated. Unitarian churches are donating much of the water, Whitmore said.

“A lot goes into protests that people never see,” Whitmore said. “The number one injury the medics treat is dehydration and heat exhaustion. People can participate and still be healthy.”

2:31 p.m. — It’s a hot day in downtown Phoenix, but few cases of dehydration have been reported at Occupy Phoenix. Jason Odhner, a registered nurse with the Phoenix Urban Health Collective, said there have been few cases of dehydration or injury so far at the protest. “We have a really good water infrastructure,” Odhner said. “It’s a hot day so we’ll assess the crowd. People are determined and energized. I think they’ll do just fine.”

Brian Harrison, a volunteer with Standing on the Side of Love, an advocacy group affiliated with the Unitarian Church, said the Firehouse Gallery on Roosevelt Row is storing some water and nonperishable food for the protesters. Harrison also said the protesters are planning on moving at 5 p.m.

2:28 p.m. — Protesters are planning to start moving to Hance Park at about 4:50 p.m. Some protesters said they are leaving Cesar Chavez Plaza for lunch or to take a break but will be coming back later in the day. Reports that the crowd has thinned to about 1,500 are circulating.

2:13 p.m. — The mix of protesters at Occupy Phoenix is growing increasingly diverse. Members of the Arizona Tea Party, the Mormon church and the Mural Mice, artists from Prescott, are all among the crowd of more than 2,000.

J.T. Ready stands armed at the Occupy Phoenix protest. Ready said he was there with the U.S. Border Guard. (Sara Steffan/DD)

2:01 p.m. — The protesters are forming a circle at Cesar Chavez Plaza to allow for better communication. A concert was scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. but it has not started yet. No movement to Hance Park has started either.

1:32 p.m. — An armed J.T. Ready, an Arizona neo-Nazi with ties to the national socialist movement, said he is at the event with the U.S. Border Guard. “(Protesters) have the right to disagree peacefully, but we’re here to keep the peace,” he said. Jay Pierce, a Downtown education major who is also protesting, responded that Ready and his followers “say they’re against banks and the rich but that’s just a cover for anti-Semitism.”

1:27 p.m. — There are plans circulating among protesters to move the demonstration to Hance Park at 2 p.m.

1:20 p.m. — Police officers have pepper-spray canisters on their bicycles but have said there are no plans to use them at this time. “We’re not planning on doing any (crowd dispersion),” Phoenix Police Sgt. Phil Hallber said. “We’re just trying to keep the peace.”

1:15 p.m. — New estimates peg the growing crowd at about 2,000. Members of the Arizona Tea Party are reportedly on scene.

1:04 p.m. — About eight members of the Arizona Border Guard are at the protest with AK-47s and pistols. The request for increased crowd control from the police was in response to the Border Guard. Arizona neo-Nazi J.T. Ready is also present in the crowd.

12:41 p.m. — About 20-30 police officers have grabbed gas masks and pepper-spray canisters. There appears to be some request from the police for increased crowd control. Police have not donned their gas masks.

12:25 p.m. — Early estimates of crowd size at more than 1,000 and dozens of Phoenix police officers. The crowd appears to be filling out the plaza more.

12:09 p.m. — Occupy Phoenix protest is underway. Organizers are handing out water bottles and umbrellas. Light police presence is on location.


  1. The U.S. Border Guard deployed an urban combat trained security squad to the Occupy Phoenix rally today as armed peace keepers and legal observers. Border Rangers who patrol the border took a non-political stance to defend peaceful assembly and free speech of all citizens by exercising our right to keep and bear arms. Phoenix Police units were on scene also keeping the peace. Our founding fathers and founding mothers knew full well that the 2nd Amendment is what protects all our other amendments from tyranny. The U.S.B.G. protected the rights of all parties involved.

  2. One way to get people to pay some attention to what is happening with the police here is to lodge a complaint about local law enforcement infringing on Civil Liberties (First Amendment Rights in this case) to the FBI. Apparently it will have to wait until Monday, but then you can call and ask for the Duty Officer to file a complaint.

    Here is the Phoenix FBI Office Info:

    201 East Indianola Avenue
    Phoenix, AZ 85012
    Phone: (602) 279-5511
    Fax: (602) 650-3204

  3. Excellent job of reporting here. You’ve put the big newspaper’s website far behind you.
    Thanks for keeping us informed.

  4. Please correct the line at 1:32 pm that states that J.T. Ready is with the U.S. Border Patrol. He is NOT with the USBP. The USBP is part of the U.S. government’s Homeland Security.

    Ready’s U.S. Border Guard is NOT part of the government. It’s a bunch of volunteers. They believe for whatever reason (in Ready’s case it’s blatant racism… no hiding the fact he has Neo-Nazi ties)that they have to “protect” the border without associating with the military or government.

    Since they make the distinction, so should we. I don’t want people to think Ready actually works for our government.

  5. @ Kelsey- labeling people and swallowing the corporate media lies without getting to know people is part of the problem. Not part of the solution. They are both ploys to make people fight each other as conservatards or libtards- while the 1% enslaves us all.

  6. Thank you so much Kelsey for your comments. JT, please leave your racist comments off of a great site like this and stick to picking fights with Stephen Lemons.

    DD-Wow. You guys definitely had the best coverage of #OccupyPhoenix in the state. Fantastic work. Way to stay till the bitter end. This is what a real news team looks like.

  7. Conner please elaborate on what part of JT’s statement was racist? Kelsey, maybe we wouldn’t have to be on the border to stop cartel narco-terrorists from flooding the street with poison like meth, or to save drug war refugees from Mexico who have been abandoned by their Coyote (their own people!) and are wandering around the desert without water until we find them, if the Government would do their job. Instead they are supplying these same cartel with weapons, and our troops are busy protecting poppy fields and heroin shipments thousands of miles away in Afghanistan.

  8. A.J., you are correct that JT did not make any racist comments in his statements on this site. I suppose I was resting on his prior laurels of neo-Nazi and skinhead leadership. So please don’t make the Minutemen out to be some sort of heroes. Please leave “saving” immigrants up to such organizations as No Mas Muertes. You know, the groups that are saving people, rather than turning them into La Migra.

    Now, I am certainly not denying that the Coyotes are vicious people, and the whole system is skewed. But, the troops in Afghanistan (honestly, this is a government issue, not just my opinion) have little to nothing to do with the troops along the border. Different sources and different authority.

  9. give me a brake you forked toung. rescueing dehydrated migrants?
    i suspose that is why both you and your group and border patrol cut up and distroy the water stations left by real humans for the migrants. you do this to insure they wil die on the desert. your lies do not fly amoung those who know what you are and what you really do. you and the border patrol are smugling drugs your selves and are brutialy mstreating so called illigals when you find them. the border partol even abuse and beat up children. and what do have to say about the rapes?

    know this, you and the border patrol are being watched and your crimes are being documented.
    there will come a time when you and bp will rue the day that water was poured out in front of dieing people so you could amuse your
    selvesand mock their suffering. the whold world is watching you.

    so you say your are at occupy to keep the peace? yet you are suiting up for trouble? you are armed to the teeth for peace? you must think everyone is stupid. you intend to make sure there is trouble so you can hurt someone and show how tough you are and how you can harm unarmed people who’s rights you have only contempt.

  10. What a waste of money. Too bad the cops can’t spend it on something more constructive.

    Like solving murders (they’re at 50% unsolved) and traffic enforcement.

    To quote the movie of the same name. Phoenix – “In this town, the heat can kill you.”