Occupy Houston and the Houston Police Department have confirmed that a number of arrests took place last night at Tranquility Park during an Occupy Houston protest, though the number remains in question.
According to Occupy Houston, ten protesters were detained by HPD officers at approximately 11 p.m. last night as a result of a tent-like structure that had been erected on a sidewalk. Minutes after officers arrived at the scene, the situation "escalated dramatically," reads an Occupy Houston press release, "reaching a total of 27 officers and 19 police cruisers.
Anthony Constante tells Hair Balls that protesters refused to remove a tarp that was protecting equipment from yesterday's showers and that's when the arrests took place. "As soon as they see a domed tent, the cops are on it like flies on stuff," he says. Tent-like structures aren't allowed on city sidewalks, according to a City of Houston ordinance.
Another protester, reads the Occupy Houston release, was detained while requesting the name and badge number of a Houston police officer, an incident that's chronicled in the video below.
A spokesman for Houston PD says that a number of arrests did take place, but he couldn't name an exact figure. "We're still trying to confirm things. There were people detained but we don't have anything specific."
Update: Victor Senties of the Houston Police Department tells Hair Balls that 11 people were detained, six of which will need to appear in municipal court.
According to Senties, HPD officers arrived at Tranquility Park around 8:40 p.m. and repeatedly asked two protesters to break down the makeshift tent.
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"They were given every opportunity to leave. As this was going on, another four people ran over there and got underneath the tent." Those six people were arrested and charged with erecting a structure in a city park, which is a municipal violation.
"As that was going on, you had another two people confront our officers in a very aggressive and belligerent manner," says Senties. Those individuals were charged with failure to comply with a lawful order, also a municipal violation.
Later, another group of people ran across the street. Three were issued citations for jaywalking and released at the scene.