Police partially clear Occupy Santa Rosa camp

November 22, 2011 1:42:53 PM PST
Santa Rosa police said campers without permits voluntarily left the 'Occupy Santa Rosa' site at City Hall this morning.

There was no resistance, and no arrests were made, Lt. Craig Schwartz said.

Police and Sonoma County sheriff's deputies arrived at the encampment at Santa Rosa Avenue and First Street around 3:45 a.m., Schwartz said.

Officers announced four times over a loudspeaker that everyone at the encampment had to vacate the area, and that those without permits had to leave the site and take their belongings with them, Schwartz said.

Campers with permits were allowed to leave their property in place, Schwartz said.

Officers gave everyone 40 minutes to comply and entered the encampment at 4:25 a.m., Schwartz said.

Officers dismantled the unpermitted tents and collected property, Schwartz said. He said much of the property was unsanitary, with evidence of fecal and urine contamination.

The Santa Rosa Department of Public Works filled two Dumpsters with property for disposal, he said.

Afterward, officers escorted campers with permits back onto the site. Twenty-two campsites remain, Schwartz said. The permits expire Nov. 30.

There were 45 campsites on Monday, 26 of which did not have permits, Schwartz said.

'Occupy Santa Rosa' protesters have been at the City Hall site since Oct. 15, and received permission to obtain camping permits at a City Council meeting on Nov. 10.

The city issued permits for 29 campsites on Nov. 15, but many 'Occupy Santa Rosa' members boycotted the permit process in part because of the conditions attached.

City Manager Kathy Millison then suspended the issuance of permits, and on Nov. 17, police began issuing written notices to unpermitted campers to remove their tents and sleeping bags or face arrest.

'Occupy Santa Rosa' members said their encampment attracted the homeless, who received most, if not all, of the camping permits.

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