Occupy Portland protest sites emptying out
PORTLAND, Ore (Reuters) - Occupy Portland encampments were nearly empty on Sunday as protesters packed up and left after warnings by city officials that they would be evicted over the weekend.
Fewer than a dozen tents remained at two downtown parks where protesters have camped since early October as part of the nationwide Occupy Wall street movement against alleged economic injustice.
City officials said they planned to put up fences around the two Portland parks to close them to protesters on Sunday afternoon.
"The parks are going to be closed to the public effective when the Portland Police Bureau feels that it can be done in a peaceful and successful way," Mayor Sam Adams said at a Sunday morning news conference.
The mayor had put the protesters on notice on Thursday that they would be evicted "on or after" 12:01 a.m. Sunday.
Since then, many protesters have taken down tents and removed their belongings.
The mood at the parks on Sunday was "peaceful and respectful" after some raucous marching overnight, said City Council member Nick Fish.
"It's almost like the fever broke last night," he said.
The nationwide protest movement, which started in New York in September, has voiced opposition to what the demonstrators see as an unfair concentration of wealth in the United States. They object to corporate excesses and bailouts of major banks.
Officials in some cities have cited health and safety concerns in urging demonstrators to take down their camps, or as a reason for police to force the issue.
On Saturday night in Portland, some 2,000 people marched, chanted and listened to music and speeches at the protest sites.