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Occupy roundup: Arrests, evacuations and a serenade

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 11:03 AM EST, Mon November 14, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Singer performs tune about the Occupy movement at the APEC dinner
  • Doctors administer free flu shots in New York park
  • Oakland police issue a third notice for demonstrators to vacate city parks
  • Portland police make more than 50 arrests

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(CNN) -- What started as the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York in September has spread across major cities worldwide as a call to action against unequal distribution of wealth.

Here is a roundup of some of the movement's recent developments.

DENVER

Police in Denver arrested three protesters Sunday, a day after 17 demonstrators were hauled off to jail.

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Tensions are high between the two groups, with each side blaming the other for scuffles.

Protesters became upset Sunday when police began removing a food table from a park, some of them surrounding a police car. One woman then pushed a Denver police officer, according to a police statement.

One officer twisted his knee, while another was treated and released from an area hospital after being hit in the head, police said.

On Saturday night, police in riot gear arrested 17 people as they cleared furniture and tents from an Occupy encampment near the city's civic center, police spokesman Sonny Jackson said. The main issue, he said, was that the items were blocking a right of way.

"People are welcome to come back and protest, but we don't want them to do it in a way that's not safe," Jackson said.

Occupy Denver has accused the police of brutality, saying officers have threatened to "break the teeth" of protesters. It said police followed protesters even after they left the park, and assaulted demonstrators who stood on the sidelines.

"These are certainly the kind of actions one might expect from the Egyptian police in the last days of the Arab Spring, but not in Denver," the group said.

HONOLULU

As President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and the heads of 18 other nations dined together Saturday night, they were unwittingly serenaded for almost 45 minutes by a musician playing a song about the Occupy movement.

"We occupy the streets, we'll occupy the courts, we'll occupy the offices of you, till you do the bidding of the many, not the few," sang Matthew Swalinkavich, a well-known local guitarist who calls himself Makana, the Hawaiian word that means "the gift."

Makana was invited by the White House to perform during the APEC leaders' dinner.

Dressed in a suit, Makana at first played traditional Hawaiian-style music as leaders arrived at Honolulu's Hale Koa Hotel. Eventually he unbuttoned his shirt to reveal a T-shirt that said, in handwritten letters, "Occupy with Aloha," and began playing a song he recently wrote, "We Are the Many."

Video recorded on a cell phone by Makana's sound technician showed some leaders turning their attention toward him as he sang, but most appeared not to notice.

"I started out very cautiously because my intention was not to disrupt their dinner. My intention was to subliminally convey a message that I felt was paramount to the negotiations," Makana told CNN.

NEW YORK

Dozens of doctors and nurses descended on New York's Zucotti Park on Sunday to administer free flu shots to ward off the risk of a sweeping infection in the close quarters.

Some of the medics held up a sign that read, "I'm a doctor for the 99%" Others made their way through the park, publicizing their drive and reminding the gathered they didn't have to be a part of the protests to receive the shots.

Before the event, the non-profit Physicians for a National Health Program had asked for 99 doctors, nurses and students to administer the doses.

Rob Harper told CNN's iReport that some protesters initially were hesitant to receive the shot.

"One man said he would do it but wasn't sure if it was some time of secret government experiment," Harper said. "He eventually took the shot and walk away happy."

Robert Espier, also speaking to CNN's iReport, said the presence of the doctors "means we have their support, support from all different sectors."

"All of the doctors there, it was just enough to make an old man get a little watery-eyed," Espier, 68, said.

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

Oakland police issued a third notice for demonstrators to vacate city parks on Saturday, police spokeswoman Officer Johnna Watson told CNN. The protesters had not complied with that order, Watson said.

A second notice was issued Saturday morning after a fatal shooting near the camp, according to CNN affiliate KCBS. A man in his early 20s was shot Friday. Authorities said one of the suspects has been "a frequent resident at the encampment over the past several days," KCBS said.

PHILADELPHIA

In Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter said Sunday he was increasing police presence near the Occupy Philly camp.

"Occupy Philly has changed," he said at a noon press conference. "We're seeing serious health and safety issues playing out on an almost daily basis... The people of Occupy Philly have also changed and their intentions have changed. And all of this is not good for Philadelphia."

A woman reported she was sexually assaulted Saturday night in a tent at the encampment, Nutter said. CNN affiliate WPVI reported a suspect was arrested in the alleged assault.

In addition, there is the threat of fire near historic City Hall and concerns about litter, public urination, defecation and graffiti, according to the mayor.

Numerous reports of thefts and assaults in the encampment have been made, and 15 emergency medical runs were made between October 6 and November 11, he said.

"Misconduct is not about free speech," the mayor said, "and the behavior we're now seeing is running squarely into the needs of our city government that also represents the 99%. As mayor of the city of Philadelphia, I represent the 99% also."

PORTLAND, OREGON

Police in Portland, Oregon, made more than 50 arrests Sunday as they cleared two parks -- Chapman and Lownsdale Square -- of protesters.

Portland police called in law enforcement reinforcement from surrounding jurisdictions, and more than 300 officers took part in the sweep -- which went off without incident, authorities said.

The city parks bureau spent Sunday night fencing off the sites.

Mayor Sam Adams said late Sunday afternoon that "a series of increased drug overdoses... an arsonist that used the camp as camouflage and almost a 20% increase in crime surrounding the encampment" prompted the move.

"All of us are working really hard at keeping the peace and protecting freedom of expression," Adams told CNN. "I support a lot of what the encampment stands for ... (But) it shouldn't be focused on port-a-potties and tents and encampments attracting criminal elements. I think this movement needs to evolve."

Kari Koch, one of the activists, told CNN that she was "extremely disappointed that the mayor chose to crack down on these parks when the outpouring of support (among area residents) has been so strong."

"Homeless people exist, drug addicts exist, mentally ill people exist. We were a safe place they could go, and that created some problems," she said. "And we were working to deal with those problems, and the mayor cut us off."

SALT LAKE CITY

Salt Lake City said 19 people were arrested Saturday night as authorities moved in to clear an Occupy Salt Lake encampment at a downtown park.

Police had ordered protesters to leave the park after a man was found dead late Thursday night. The cause of death was thought to be carbon monoxide poisoning and a drug overdose, CNN affiliate KSTU reported.

"We can no longer tolerate individuals camping on our streets," Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank told reporters.

However, "only camping is over," Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker's office said on Twitter -- protests can continue at the park. KSTU reported authorities said protesters would be allowed to have a 24-hour presence and one building, but the tents had to go.

As police moved in Saturday evening, according to video from the scene, protesters chanted, "This is what a police state looks like."

"Our rights to assembly, which are embodied in the First Amendment, are still being violated," protester Jesse Fruhwirth told KSTU. "Our forefathers are speaking to us, telling us that this is what assembly looks like. Not being able to camp here severely limits the ability of us to keep our coalition together."

CNN's Ashley Hayes, Brianna Keiler, Elizabeth Cherneff, Miguel Susana, Tenisha Bell and Maria P. White contributed to this report.

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