Occupy Camp Death Raises Community Fears

By Olivia Katrandjian

Dec 4, 2011 1:24pm

A man’s body was found overnight in one of the tents at the Occupy encampment the University of North Texas in Denton, about 30 miles north of Dallas.

Occupy members immediately recognized him, not as a student or a protester, but as a homeless and drug-addicted man who’d been taken in by the group and given food and shelter.  Police are investigating the death, but say they don’t suspect foul play.

Many on campus are now calling for an end to the encampment. Some are posting angry notes on the school newspaper site, demanding that Occupy Denton be shut down; others are expressing condolences on the group’s Facebook page.

Occupy Denton says the death is a chance to highlight the plight of the homeless.

Arrests Overnight at Occupy Portland

In Portland, Ore., several Occupy protesters were arrested Saturday night after defying police orders to leave a park, despite police warnings that overnight camping would not be tolerated.

Protesters tried to hold their ground as police moved into the park, but police with riot gear started pushing them back. There was a lot of pushing a shoving, and finally protesters decided to moved a few blocks away to city hall, where they began a march back through downtown Portland.

Police took down tents Occupy protestors put up earlier on Saturday. Protesters have now headed back to the original park block they were kicked out of last night, but they do not appear to be setting up tents once again.

Protestors were chased out of two other city parks two weeks ago.

Hunger Strike by Protesters in New York City

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About 300 protesters gathered today in Duarte Square on Sixth Avenue and Canal Street in lower Manhattan to seek sanctuary on a vacant lot owned by Trinity Church, which is located at the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway.

Three protesters — Diego Ibanez, Brian Udall, Shae Willes — went on a hunger strike Saturday at noon to pressure Trinity Church to “liberate” the space.

“They have said that they support us, so this is a great chance for them to prove it,” Ibanez told ABC News this morning.

The three hunger strikers and three other protesters slept outside last night in Duarte Square.

“We were bothered by police around 3 a.m. They woke us up and said ‘You guys can sleep here, but you can’t use blankets.’ They didn’t give us a reason. We talked about it and decided we were going to keep our blankets,” Ibanez said.

Occupy Wall Street protesters were evicted from their nearby encampment two weeks ago.

“Were willing to go as long as it takes,” said Ibanez. “If we do get detained, we’re going to continue the hunger strike in jail, and as soon as we leave were going to come right back down here and continue.”

Ibanez said the protesters have a clear vision of what the vacant lot could look like: “This was the best chance we could get at getting a centralized location. We want to liberate and give unused spaces to the community and open it up for people to have art exhibits, teach-ins, where people come and teach for free. There could be council meetings here.”

The New York Occupy protesters said they hope that other Occupy groups around the country that have been forced out of their encampments will join them in the hunger strike, to make that a national movement as well.

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