Occupy Memphis Dismantled

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Memphis police officers on Friday dismantled the Occupy Memphis encampment from a downtown plaza that served as the movement’s home for 10 months.
Officers moved in around 4 a.m. Friday to take down Occupy Memphis’ tents at the Civic Center Plaza, which sits directly across City Hall and is near several other government buildings. No arrests were reported.
The encampment was set up last October as part of the national Occupy movement, which railed against income inequality and referred to itself as representing the “99 percent” of Americans who don’t have the money or the power to influence political decisions about the economy.
Memphis officials had allowed Occupy Memphis to keep its camp active as long as members did not break any laws. Unlike in other cities, Occupy Memphis never had a violent clash with police.
However, the movement, which claimed about 100 members at one time, had dwindled to a few die-hards. At its peak, members were using portable batteries to generate electricity to cook food and run lights. They also received donations of food and sundries from Memphis residents.
Memphis city officials said Friday that the plaza had essentially become a homeless camp. Of the nine people at the camp when it was cleared, eight were homeless, city spokeswoman Mary Cashiola said.
Cashiola said there had recently been altercations and assaults at the camp. Also, members were bathing in public and were relieving themselves on the mall adjacent to the plaza.
The city has provided those at the camp with a secure location to house their belongings for a short time and referred them to the Community Alliance for the Homeless for services.
A statement from the city noted that Occupy Memphis was able to raise awareness to its cause.
“The City of Memphis commends them on their commitment to their cause and their perseverance, especially in light of this summer’s extreme temperatures,” the statement said.

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