27 Occupiers Arrested As Police Enforce Kiener Plaza Curfew
|Photos: Tony D'Souza|
|Occupy St. Louis members stand their ground and prepare to be arrested.|
By 8:30 p.m. roughly 50 hard-line Occupiers marched to the Thomas F. Eagleton Courthouse, using megaphones to make their presence known. Would it be effective? Maybe. Maybe not. But it was better than sitting around waiting for the authorities to come to them.
|Occupier Wesley Mirage gets escorted to a police paddy wagon around 1 a.m.|
As the sun set and temperatures dropped last night, the crowd thinned to half its earlier size only to rebound with fresh troops as the curfew approached. Then it happened. The clock struck 10 p.m. and ... nothing. Still no word from the lawyers and the judge and no forced removal at the hands of the police.
A half hour passed. Then another. And another. Now just around 75 hard-line Occupiers remained. Gone were the homeless who had set up camp alongside the Occupiers and swelled their ranks in recent weeks. Gone, too, were half of the 50 or so tents that blanketed the downtown mall the night before. Finally, right before midnight, the lawyers returned. The judge denied their injunction.
Thirty minutes later, roughly a dozen police vans rolled in, blocking 7th and Market Streets, and unloading an estimated 65 officers, many carrying plastic handcuffs, though none in riot gear. Lieutenant Dan Zarrick gave Occupy St. Louis fifteen minutes to vacate the plaza as two dozen Occupiers, determined to be arrested, linked arms at the top of the plaza steps.
|Police hold sentry where protesters stood just an hour earlier.|
With Kiener Plaza free of protesters, city workers drove a dump truck from the Forestry Division onto the scene and began filling it with piles of sleeping bags, tents and left-over provisions. Just like that, Occupy St. Louis was hauled away -- at least for the time being.