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Brittany Arneson passes incense around to “Occupy Albuquerque” protesters during a pre-meeting prayer Monday evening at Yale Park. The group was told to leave Yale Park by midnight on Sunday.

Protesters meet with Schmidly rep

Protesters still occupied campus grounds as of late Monday night,
Police showed up at midnight Sunday and told protesters they had to leave. Protesters had been staying overnight on campus since Oct. 1, and University representatives told protesters the next morning they were only allowed to be on campus between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

About 30 protesters were still on campus at 10 p.m. Monday. UNMPD officers arrived at 10:30 and told protesters to leave.

Protesters moved just off of campus property onto the sidewalk of Central Avenue adjacent to Yale Park, where they were no longer under UNMPD jurisdiction. About four APD officers arrived on the scene, and after UNMPD left at about 10:50, protesters started ambling between Yale Park and the city sidewalk.

As of midnight Monday, two APD officers remained on the scene, but issued no arrests and didn’t make any attempts to clear protesters off campus.

University spokeswoman Karen Wentworth said staying overnight on campus is in violation of University policy.

“All through the week, we told them, ‘You can’t stay here overnight,” she said. “We went and talked to them and said, ‘Please apply for a permit,’ and ‘You can’t stay here overnight.’ No, we don’t let students stay here overnight; we’re not allowed to stay here overnight.’”

Wentworth said UNM administration made the decision call on authorities to remove protesters.

Representatives from the Occupy Albuquerque camp met with Breda Bova, University President David Schmidly’s chief of staff, and UNMPD Police Chief Kathy Guimond Monday morning to inquire about the University’s decision.

Guimond said protesters may have exaggerated the intensity of Sunday night’s events.

“No force was used, and there was really no confrontation,” she said.

Protester Kristen Gandy said police scared her and she didn’t think the show of force was necessary.

“It was terrifying and I think it was dangerous to do that in the middle of the night when people are waking up and disoriented,” she said.

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Protesters said the police’s zip-cuffs, dogs and ambush in the middle of the night was excessive.

“There are no witnesses at midnight, so this is standard police behavior,” said protester Henry Edwards. “They do this in Mubarak’s Egypt; they do this in Gaddafi’s Libya; every police state will do this if there’s a group of people occupying.”

Guimond said police approached protesters during the early morning hours for several reasons.

“Frankly, that’s one of our least busy times,” she said. “The issue has been the overnight issue, so it wouldn’t have been appropriate to show up at noon. And the University opens at six, so we wouldn’t do anything then, either.”

Protesters said they obtained the permit required by UNM to remain on campus, and didn’t expect to be kicked off.

“All of us were led to believe we were doing what we were supposed to, so that made all of this even more surprising,” student and protester Michelle Hercher said.

Wentworth said police determined several campers were intoxicated, which is also against UNM policy.

Protesters plan to hold a teach-in in the SUB atrium today at 11:30 a.m. to draw attention to their cause.


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