Police in New Haven, Connecticut have arrested 13 Occupy protesters for interfering with police and disorderly conduct. According to courant.com, the demonstrators had “occupied” part of the city’s green area since last October, and cost the city approximately $145,000.
Mayor John DeStefano (D-New Haven) said that police were told to clear the protesters off the green following a federal court order permitting the city to have the demonstrators removed. The mayor said that the protesters were welcome to return to the green, but that they are not permitted to erect structures and must leave the area by 10:00 p.m. According to Mayor DeStefano, the Occupy New Haven movement’s focus had changed from economic justice to occupation of the New Haven green.
A federal judge in New Haven ruled that although the demonstrators have a right to free speech, the city also has a right to regulate the use of the green area. Attorneys for the city said that the occupiers’ “huts,” in addition to being fire hazards, have been killing the grass and endangering the root systems of rare, century-old elm trees.
Most of the protesters who were arrested were eventually released. Some of them said they would be looking for another location in the city to “occupy.”