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Occupy New Haven Removal Halted

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The Occupy New Haven camp, after city efforts to remove the tarps and tents were stopped by a federal judge April 10, 2012. Photo by WTIC's Matt Dwyer.

The Occupy New Haven camp, after city efforts to remove the tarps and tents were stopped by a federal judge April 10, 2012. Photo by WTIC’s Matt Dwyer.

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Two people were arrested today, as the city of New Haven briefly tried to remove the Occupy New Haven encampment from the city green.

City crews and police stopped their work, after a federal appeals court judge in New York issued a last-minute order, allowing the demonstrators to remain.

A previous, lower court judge’s ruling blocking the city from removing the encampment expired at noon.  The city moved in a few minutes after noon to begin the removal. Word of the judge’s order to halt came minutes after the city began taking down the camp.

New Haven Mayor John DeStefano says the city will continue efforts to remove the tents and tarps.

“New Haven is a tolerant, open community.  It has provided a forum for this, and we have tried to act entirely reasonably.  It is unfortunate, but you know what? It is what it is right now.”

“We will represent the interests of the city,” DeStefano said.  “To return the use of the entire green to the entire community.”

The mayor said the two people arrested were climbing on equipment.  They were released on written promises to appear in court.

Some of the demonstrators say they should be allowed to express themselves — and live — on the green because it is public space.

Some of the demonstrators said the city officials seemed to continue the removal for too long, after the judge ruled that the camp could remain.

A demonstrator who would give his name only as Jarett said the police and city workers took away the camp’s American flags, and flowers.

“I was in the process of helping to defend the camp and blocking bulldozers, when  the word came down it was exciting, Jarett said. “The police backed down, as they should, but they did not back down immediately.”

Under the judge’s order, the encampment will be allowed to remain until some time next week, when the court will decide if legal arguments are needed for the issues raised by attorneys for Occupy New Haven demonstrators.

The camp is believed to be the only Occupy location in New England to remain active through the winter.

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