At least 100 people Wednesday night took their (Un)Occupy Albuquerque protest across the street from the University of New Mexico, which had evicted them from their Yale Park headquarters the day before.
Dozens of people had again met at the park early Wednesday evening, but UNM police warned them they no longer had a permit and had to leave. One person was taken into custody, while the others walked off and gathered at a nearby coffee shop patio on the other side of Central Avenue.
On Tuesday night, UNM police arrested 30 protesters because they had refused to leave campus when their permit expired at 10 p.m. The group had been stationed on campus for about three weeks and was an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement based in New York City.
Lawrence Kronen, a lawyer, told the group Wednesday evening that the ACLU planned to file an injunction against the university based on the protesters’ First Amendment rights.
The group had cleared their gear from Yale Park by Wednesday, but protesters continued to stop by during the day to check in on the status of the protest.
By 6 p.m., a group had gathered for a meeting, and that’s when about a dozen UNM police officers told them to leave.
An employee at the Satellite Coffee, where the protesters relocated, said the owners had given permission for them to remain.
About 20 UNM and State Police officers stayed at the Yale Park area.
Protesters say they plan to continue gathering at the park for their regularly scheduled daily meetings – 6 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. Saturday.
UNM Peace Studies instructor Desi Brown told the group some faculty members were trying to find ways for protesters to continue meeting on campus, perhaps through teach-ins.
Most of those arrested Tuesday night at the Camp Coyote site were in their late teens or early 20s, according to booking records from the Metropolitan Detention Center.
They were booked into the West Side jail between 2 a.m. and 11 a.m. Wednesday, and each was charged with one count of criminal trespassing. Most were released on their own recognizance, jail spokeswoman Nataura Powdrell said.
As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, eight of those arrested at UNM were still in jail, according to jail records. Their bonds were set at $250.
Powdrell did not know why some had not been released.
UNM police spokesman Lt. Robert Haarhues declined to comment on Tuesday’s arrests, saying the communications department would handle all media inquiries.
Chad Otowski, 25, said he had willingly gone to jail because he believes in the group’s cause, which is to protest financial inequality.
He said he was acting on behalf of people “who have no voice, because I have one and I intend to use it.”
Otowski said he had dropped out of school because he wanted to protest full time.
UNM officials said they issued the eviction order after a weekend of fights, public drunkenness and the death of a homeless woman. They said they were concerned about safety.
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal