Arrests at Occupy Houston for the Use of Tarps and Jaywalking

I wish I were joking.

Last night, ten people were arrested at OccupyHouston. As this was a night raid, the quality of the camera footage is poor. Much of it was taken on cellphones.

Occupy Houston has been beset by problems. Though they live in one of the largest cities in the US, they’re one of the smallest occupations. They’ve been camped at Tranquility Park, north of city hall, for weeks now. They’ve braved swarming mosquitoes, hot weather, waterfountains that barely work, and this week, dangerous thunderstorms that caused tornadoes in other parts of the county.

One of the protesters built himself a lean-to style structure to protect his belongings from the rain. A tarp descended from a wall at an angle, creating a cover. The police approached him, and told him that he could remove the tarp, or be arrested. He refused. Five other occupiers crawled into the lean to with him, refusing to let him be arrested alone. They were all arrested.

Later, a protester attempted to cross the street. A patrol car blocked the crosswalk, so he was arrested for Jaywalking, as were three other people who crossed the street after him to ask for badge numbers. For those who don’t know the area, the paddy wagon in the first video is driving the wrong way down a one way street. This is, again, in order to arrest a protester for Jaywalking. The protesters chant “this is what hypocrisy looks like!”

Here’s the full video on that:

As you can see from these videos, the police refuse to give badge numbers. Among the three people arrested for crossing the street was Occupy Houston’s legal counsel.

Thankfully, I have no reports of injuries at this time, and it looks like the Houston Police were civil in their behavior, though they enforced ridiculous laws. The reasons for these arrests are pathetic, but par for the course in Houston, whose “Civility Ordinance” illegalizes homelessness, making it illegal to sleep on sidewalks or construct shelters.

I’m expecting an e-mail from the Occupiers at houston. I’ll update you with more information when I recieve it.

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