Annise Parker: Occupy Houston Must Leave Park By Dusk Today (UPDATED)

Mayor Annise Parker says that Occupy Houston supporters in Tranquility Park must leave by dusk today.

"I told Occupy Houston leaders in January they need to decide the next phase for their effort," Parker said. "I support their right to free speech and I'm sympathetic to their call for reform of the financial system, but they can't simply continue to occupy a space indefinitely. We have to get the area ready for the spring festivals and that necessitates their leaving."

The Houston Police Department's Homeless Outreach Team will be on hand to provide transportation to shelters, the city said.

The site has been occupied for four months. The city says the occupation "has cost the Houston Police Department a total of $54,917.68 and $287,268.00 in overtime and regular salaries, respectively."

Also, "The Houston Parks Department estimates it will cost more than $13,000 to clean up and lay new sod in the park."

Update: And it's over. Our man on the scene said between the rain and the mud, the dozen or so protestors remaining on site left peacefully, although heavily interviewed by TV reporters.

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