Audio by Nick Gnat. Photos by Cydney McFarland and Salvador Rodriguez
Six Occupy Phoenix protesters were arrested late Thursday night for urban camping in Cesar Chavez Plaza, violations that prompted Phoenix Police to tear down much of the movement’s camp, authorities said.
Arrests occurred at about 11:30 p.m. because protesters were violating urban camping laws by sitting inside tents and under canopies in the plaza, Sgt. R. Fricke said. Only protesters inside tents were arrested.
Derek Nasir, 19, said he was inside a camping tent moments before the police arrived.
“I definitely would have been arrested had I not stepped out,” said Nasir, a physics and mathematics sophomore who has been involved with Occupy Phoenix since late October. Nasir said the arrests were carried out peacefully.
The Occupy Phoenix protesters have progressively violated more camping laws by bringing tents, personal belongings, light sources, a couch and other material to the plaza, Fricke said.
“You don’t need a couch to practice your First Amendment,” said Fricke. “Long story short, it’s just gotten out of hand.”
The six arrests bring the total number of Occupy Phoenix arrests by the Phoenix Police Department since Oct. 15 to 70, Fricke said.
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