The ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement began last year in New York and spread to cities across the nation, including Memphis. But the Occupy Memphis encampment is now being torn down by police.
The effort began around 4 a.m. Friday. City of Memphis CAO George Little told the news station the site has evolved into a homeless encampment.
“The law has never really allowed for a permanent encampment,” Little said, according to WMC-TV. “We certainly will embrace freedoms of expression and we’ll work with them if they want to express themselves through other means but as far as an encampment on the plaza, that will not be allowed.”
The city released a statement later Friday morning claiming altercations, assaults and public health hazards as the reasons for the removal.
“Though Occupy members say they have been using public and private restroom facilities, public bathing and urination have been known to occur in the water wall next to the Downtown Memphis Commission,” the statement read. “There have also been complaints of members defecating on the mall and urinating on the side of 160 N. Main.”
The city has provided Occupy residents with a secure location to temporarily house their belongings and all have been referred to the Community Alliance for the Homeless.
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