Worcester, MA (November 6, 2011) - On November 5, 2011 at approximately 10:20 PM Worcester police began to make multiple arrests of members of the Occupy Worcester Movement for trespassing in the Worcester Common located in the rear of City Hall. Worcester police received information that approximately 75 protesters were in the common and some were beginning to set up tents. Worcester police officials arrived at the location several minutes before 10:00 PM and advised the group that the Common, like all city parks, will close at 10:00 PM and that any remaining members who refuse to leave the area at closing would be subject to arrest for Trespassing. When closing time came, police officials gave approximately 3 more additional warnings to the group to disperse from the Common. Many of the protesters dispersed from the area; however 19 remained and were subsequently placed under arrest for Trespassing. Several in the group were lying down interlocking their arms together. Many in the group were passive resisting by refusing to stand up and walk; these protesters had to be carried off the Common and carried to the police wagon for transport.
As the group dispersed, a large number of protesters began to walk from the Common to Worcester Police Headquarters. This group walked in the middle of the road refusing to allow appropriate space for traffic to safely pass. Police encountered this group at Major Taylor Boulevard and asked them to walk on the sidewalk and allow traffic to travel by unobstructed. The group complied with the exception of two individuals; those two were placed under arrest for Disorderly Behavior and Disturbing the Peace.
The Worcester Police respect the right of citizens to peacefully protest their grievances. The orchestrated arrest of 22 people on a busy Saturday night created an unnecessary strain on the police department's limited resources. In order to safely and effectively deal with the mass demonstration and arrest, multiple units of uniform and investigative officers were diverted from other pressing public safety responsibilities.
These types of mass arrests with passive resistance increase the potential for injury to citizens and officers. It creates a confrontational environment that can quickly deteriorate. As a result of the demonstration and arrest, calls from citizens requesting police service were backed up and police response was delayed.
Thousands of dollars in overtime was expended to deal with the mass demonstration and arrests potentially impacting youth and community programs.
The following were placed under arrest for Trespassing in the Common:
The following were placed under arrest on Major Taylor Boulevard for Disturbing the Peace and Disorderly Conduct:
There will be no new additional information released at this time.