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UPDATED: After Long Night, Occupiers Leave Canal Walk

Occupy Richmond averts police showdown -- briefly taking over Festival Park and Canal.



UPDATE: 12:15 p.m. The mayor’s offices issued a statement this morning regarding last night’s roving protest: “As the mayor has said before, we respect the constitutional right to free speech and assembly,” says Mike Wallace, a spokesman for the mayor. “Likewise, we expect the citizens to obey the law.” Wallace, however, didn’t have any comment regarding the occupiers early morning assembly at the Canal Walk, instead deferring to Richmond Police. Police have yet to release details about last night's protest.

The two men arrested Wednesday evening at Monroe Park, Eric Scott and Hunter Singleton, remain in city lockup, says Mo Karn, a spokesperson for the Wingnut Anarchist Collective, which participated in the overnight protest.

9:15 a.m. Occupy Richmond protestors, who spent early this morning at the Canal Walk, are on the move again. After a tense night, the occupiers gathered at the sporadically used Canal Walk until early this morning. In the city code, there's little reference to the area, and only specifically prohibits skateboarding there. City Hall didn't have an immediate response to the moving protest this morning.

As of 9 a.m., the protestors were no longer at the Canal Walk.

7:30 a.m. The protest moved to the Canal Walk this morning, after a tense showdown with Richmond Police and state troopers at Festival Park in front of the Richmond Coliseum.

1 a.m. Occupy Richmond protestors are preparing to move to a new location, possibly the Canal Walk, near the plaza at the Turning Basin. Whether they can legally remain along the Canal Walk overnight is unclear.

11:55 p.m. Byron Marshall, chief administrative officer for the city, says due to special exception Festival Park is legally open until 3 a.m. Several ranking city officials are on the scene as Richmond Police and state troopers surround the park.

“We can’t have people in the park after 3 a.m,” Marshall says. As of 11:45 p.m., the number of Occupy Richmond protestors gathered in the park, in front of the Richmond Coliseum next to the old 6th Street Marketplace food court downtown, had dwindled to about 100 or so.

Richmond Police informed the protestors that they can remain in the park until 3 a.m., but those who remain afterward will be arrested.

10:30 p.m. The showdown in Monroe Park between Occupy Richmond protestors and Richmond Police turned out to be lightweight -- albeit two were arrested -- but it was apparently a diversion.

After marching around Monroe Park, a group of occupiers departed down Broad Street and assembled at Festival Park, in front of the Richmond Coliseum. Shortly after 10 p.m., there were a hundred or more protestors gathered in the park. And, according to several occupiers, tents were on the way.

Police arrived around 10:15 p.m., however.

After assembling at Gallery 5 to watch a documentary on the Occupy Richmond movement Wednesday around 7 p.m., the protestors marched in groups to Monroe Park, where police were out in force. The occupiers didn’t enter the park, but two men were arrested for concealing their faces around 9:30 p.m., according to police.

Eric Scott, a member of the Wingnut Collective, and Hunter Singleton, were arrested and could face class 6 felonies, according to initial reports. Their faces were covered with bandanas.

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