Occupy protestors hit the streets in a march to Balboa Park - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Occupy protestors hit the streets in a march to Balboa Park

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A demomstrator tries to wash pepper spray from his eyes after a clash with the San Diego Police at the Civic Center Plaza Friday, Oct. 14, 2011 in San Diego. A demomstrator tries to wash pepper spray from his eyes after a clash with the San Diego Police at the Civic Center Plaza Friday, Oct. 14, 2011 in San Diego.
A demonstrator calls for help as he points to a demonstrator on the ground. A demonstrator calls for help as he points to a demonstrator on the ground.
Police on Friday began removing about a half-dozen tents after warning demonstrators that their personal belongings couldn't stay in the Occupy San Diego camp. Police on Friday began removing about a half-dozen tents after warning demonstrators that their personal belongings couldn't stay in the Occupy San Diego camp.
A San Diego Police officer maces a demonstrator at the Civic Center Plaza. A San Diego Police officer maces a demonstrator at the Civic Center Plaza.

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - About 500 activists, some chanting and carrying signs, marched Saturday from Civic Center Plaza to Balboa Park and back as part of the "Occupy San Diego" protest against perceived political and financial wrongdoing, according to the event's organizers.

The march through downtown San Diego on the eighth day of the protest marked a return to peaceful assembly following recent clashes with police who told protesters to remove their tents, tables and other equipment from the Community Concourse.

However, one small tent stood today with a hand-written sigh stating "This tent will stay until covered in bronze to honor movement which unified a nation." The "Occupy San Diego" protest is part of a world-wide series of events stemming from the "Occupy Wall Street" rally which began last month.

Most of the protesters removed the tents without incident, as ordered Thursday afternoon, but police intervened when a group of about 70 protesters locked arms and refused to move, police said. A 21-year-old man and a 39-year-old man were arrested for suspicion of delaying a police officer. Police also used pepper spray on the members of the crowd, who allegedly pushed officers.

The events returned to a peaceful assembly with no additional arrests as of late afternoon.
"This is a movement for love and humanity," said Bob O'Grady, who had been at the protest since it begun. "We need to show the rest of the world we are here and we have your backs."

The activists staged the event to protest "global financial corruption, currently invading politics, media and corporations exemplified by the financial-industry meltdown and subsequent recession," according to a statement on the group's website.The protesters plan to camp out in the Civic Center until their unofficial demands -- which include ending joblessness, poverty and political corruption -- are met or are at least sincerely considered, according to a statement on the group's Facebook page.

This is a story update. The previous story is below.

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Scuffles broke out Friday among police and protesters taking part in the week-old "Occupy San Diego" protest at Civic Center Plaza, with officers arresting two members of the demonstration and pepper-spraying about a half-dozen others.

The disturbances at the previously peaceful rally against perceived societal, government and corporate misdeeds erupted in the late morning as authorities tried to get the crowd of several hundred to fully comply with an order to remove all camping equipment, tables, signs and other paraphernalia from the C Street concourse.

City officials issued the directive late Thursday afternoon, saying it was necessary to allow previously planned events to take place at the public space in front of Golden Hall. Many of the demonstrators complied over the next 15 hours or so, but some defiantly remained.

About 7:00 a.m. Friday, officers forcibly removed a protester, identified as 22-year-old Darinel Martinez, as he sat with dozens of others on the ground in front of several tents and other trappings, refusing to move. Martinez was booked on suspicion of resisting, delaying or obstructing a peace officer.

The next clash took place shortly before noon, as police moved in to take down one of two remaining tents. A group of agitators reacted by surrounded it and linking their arms together, and during an ensuing struggle at least one officer doused some of the resisters with pepper spray as others chanted "police brutality."

A second activist, 39-year-old Paul A. McCullough, was arrested as the confrontation played out.

One of the protesters involved in the fracas, 23-year-old Alfonso Padilla of San Diego, said a woman who was splashed by the chemical irritant still couldn't see a half-hour later.

"They sprayed her directly in the face for about 10 seconds," Padilla said.

Jessica Karle, a 22-year-old New York native, described being roughed up during the confrontation, saying officers shoved her, grabbed her by the neck and kicked her feet out from under her. Still, Karle was adamant about continuing to take part in Occupy San Diego.

"I will be here until they carry me out," she said. "We're going to stay positive. We're going to attend to people with medical care and provide food for whoever needs it."

Assistant Police Chief Boyd Long said the pepper-spraying episode occurred when demonstrators began aggressively pushing officers. Long stressed that the protesters were welcome to remain at the civic plaza but were prohibited by municipal code from setting up camp there.

A dance group has a permitted event planned for this weekend in the concourse, and city officials expect a crowd of at least 2,000 to attend.

The ongoing local rally -- inspired by the month-old Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York -- was staged "in protest of the global financial corruption currently invading politics, media and corporations, exemplified by the recent financial-industry meltdown and subsequent recession," according to the organizers' website.

Participants planned to peacefully occupy Civic Center Plaza indefinitely, or until they got desired action from "all levels of government, including the city and county of San Diego, the state of California, the federal government and ... private and public banks and corporations," the online statement of purpose asserted.

Similar shows of social dissent and civil disobedience have sprouted in cities across the country over the last several weeks, generating periodic disturbances and resulting in numerous arrests.

This is the latest story update. The previous story is below.

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Police Thursday ordered protesters camped out alongside San Diego City Hall as part of the Occupy movement to remove all their tents, tables, chairs and other paraphernalia or face arrest.

Participants in the week-old "Occupy San Diego" sit-in will be allowed to remain at the downtown Community Concourse indefinitely, but not their possessions, San Diego Police Department Assistant Chief Boyd Long announced late Thursday afternoon. Long appeared in person to explain to the demonstrators that they had until midnight to comply.

A group of about 20 mostly calm protesters surrounded Long as he explained the order and took questions.

Officials decided that the mini-tent city, which sprang up since the loose-knit group of activists began gathering last Friday, posed a conflict due to a planned weekend event that is expected to draw at least 2,000 people to the municipal plaza alongside C Street.

The World of Dance Tour, scheduled for Golden Hall on Saturday, has a permit that extends into the civic concourse, Long said.

Besides tents, larger structures have been set up in the plaza to distribute food and provide medical care, and by organizations touting their political positions.

In a statement, the San Diego Police Department, which has provided a mediator to help keep the peace at the scene of the rally, advised that any demonstrators "who do not comply will be subject to arrest, and their personal belongings will be impounded as abandoned property."

The rally has been peaceful.

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