Occupy Denver protesters face Thurs. deadline to move belongings

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DENVER — Denver Public Works officials have told Occupy Denver protesters and homeless in and around Civic Center Park to stop blocking the public walkways by midday Thursday, or risk having their items removed by police.
“An encumbrance is defined as ‘any article, vehicle or thing whatsoever’ which is on ‘any street, alley, sidewalk, parkway or other public way or place,” the city said in a letter distributed at the encampment Wednesday. “If personal items are not removed immediately, you may be subject to an order of removal at which time all items will be subject to removal by the City of Denver.”

Christine Downs, spokeswoman for the Public Works department, said items not removed voluntarily will be forcibly removed when city crews return to the park between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Thursday.

“It’s just incredibly unfortunate because, as I’m sure people have noticed, the occupation — it’s not tent city anymore,” said Occupy protester Katherine Smith. “There aren’t hundreds of people down here. The people who are down here right now, essentially, are house-less. It’s no longer an issue of us wanting to stand up for our First Amendment rights. This is an issue of… these people have nowhere else to go.”

In a tweet, OccupyDenver called for “all hands on deck” at tonight’s 7 p.m. General Assembly.

Denver Police Chief Robert White has scheduled a meeting with them on Monday.

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