AUSTIN (KXAN) - A handful of Occupy Austin protesters were arrested early Thursday morning.
Wednesday afternoon, city officials notified the group they would need to temporarily leave the plaza in front of Austin City Hall for cleaning. City officials asked protesters to leave from 2 a.m. until 6 a.m. While most left the area, several refused.
Austin police arrested four people on charges of misdemeanor criminal trespassing.
"We greatly appreciate the fact that the vast majority of the people out here were exercising their right to be here, but understood that the city wanted to make this a clean area," said Sgt. Scott Perry. "That's all they're trying to accomplish. There were no ulterior motives."
The city wants to clear the area daily for cleaning as the protests continue.
"By arresting them for being on city property, even if it is City Hall, it's city property," said Eric Wincott, with Austin Cop Watch. "They are violating their right to be there -- in protest, under their First Amendment right, which should be protected, regardless if they are power washing the front steps."
Several protesters said they were upset because a tent left on the plaza was removed by the cleaning crew. Austin police said security officials warned the group anything left on the site would be considered trash.
Organizers intend to continue their protests nonstop until Dec. 6. Protesters said they are standing up against corporate greed and the income disparity.
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