In Hartford, Mayor Pedro Segarra ordered an end to the Occupy Hartford encampment just off I-84. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. Segarra says that reports of violence and drug abuse made the site a threat to public safety.
Occupy Hartford was part of a national movement that tried to draw attention to corporate greed an economic injustice. Standing in the lobby of the Hartford Police Department, Chief Daryl Roberts said that the focus on the message had been lost as he explained the city's decision to order people to leave.
"We believe they have lost site of their main objective. It's a public safety issue. We're getting complaints of assaults, larcenies, of people getting hurt out there. It's just a public safety issue right now."
Earlier in the day, Segarra issued a statement saying that the occupiers had to vacate the site by 6 p.m. He said that while he respected the right to organize, petition, and protest, the movement had lost its way. He encouraged members of Occupy Hartford to, in his words, consider thoughtfully the next phase of their social movement.
And Roberts spelled out what was to happen later in the day.
"At six o'clock, if they're still on that property, we will take appropriate corrective police action, arrest if necessary."
Rebecca Burton came to the Hartford Police Department to try and free her friend who had just been arrested at Occupy Hartford.
"We don't have any issue with the police. I don't have a lot of information right now obviously, but they've worked with us and I just spoke to some officers over on site and they were very pleasant and easy to work with."
Burton said she saw this coming.
"Well it's not completely surprising. We we were already in the process of shutting down for winter operations. And this just sort of sped things along, I guess."
Meanwhile, Chief Roberts said he wasn't sure if the movement would relocate itself. But for now, he said, this site is closed.