Ore. police arrest 30 Wall Street protesters

Image: Policemen in riot gear scuffle with protesters
Policemen scuffle with protesters at the Occupy Denver camp in Denver on Saturday.John Moore / Getty Images
/ Source: msnbc.com news services

Police in Oregon arrested about 30 anti-Wall Street protesters early Sunday, dragging and carrying them to waiting vans, after they refused to leave a park in an affluent district.

In Tennessee, protesters defied a curfew for a third consecutive night

The arrests in Oregon came during a week of clashes between police and demonstrators supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement that led to arrests in Oakland and San Diego, California; Atlanta; Denver, and Nashville, Tennessee.

In Oregon, protesters from the Occupy Portland movement marched to the Pearl District, with some saying they viewed its residents as part of the wealthy demographic they're protesting.

Dozens of them gathered in Jamison Square on Saturday evening to defy a midnight curfew to vacate.

As police moved in, most of the protesters backed off but a core group of about 30 sat in a circle in the park and awaited arrest.

An Associated Press photographer said most of the protesters were carried or dragged away. There was no violence during the arrests, which took about 90 minutes.

The protesters — all appearing to be in their 20s and 30s with many were wearing Halloween-style face paint — were handcuffed before they were placed in police vans and driven off.

"We are the 99 percent," one arrestee continued to chant.

Police said they arrested more than two dozen people on charges that included criminal trespassing, interfering with a police officer, and disorderly conduct. The showdown came in the shadow of high-rise condos in the middle of the Pearl District, with some residents watching the events from their balconies.

In Tennessee, about 50 demonstrators in Nashville chanted "Whose plaza? Our plaza!" early Sunday in defiance of an official curfew.

Police sporadically made their rounds, but authorities signaled no immediate attempt to make arrests as law enforcement agents had done on the two previous nights.

Elizabeth Sharpe, 20, took part Sunday and said she was inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement after seeing a 2003 documentary called "The Corporation." She said she felt the need to be an activist in the movement that expresses opposition to perceived greed on Wall Street and across corporate America.

Arrested protesters lie face down on the Legislative Plaza in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011, while state troopers wait to process them and place them on a bus. It was the second straight night of arrests after Republican Gov. Bill Haslam imposed a curfew on areas surrounding the Capitol in an effort to disband a three-week demonstration by Wall Street protesters. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)Erik Schelzig / AP

"How can I as an individual change this?" she asked, speaking with an Associated Press reporter. With the Occupy moment's far-flung reach across American cities, she said she felt there was strength in numbers, adding, ""I got for the first time a glimpse of hope."

Some danced to keep warm on a chilly morning and others shivered in the frosty air, huddling under blankets.

The protesters have been galvanized by the friction between state officials and the local magistrate.

Nashville magistrate Tom Nelson has said recently that there's no legal reason in his city to keep the demonstrators behind bars and he has released them after each arrest. He has refused each night to sign off on arrest warrants for more than two dozen people taken into custody.

In Denver on Saturday evening, authorities moved into an encampment of protesters and began arresting demonstrators just hours after a standoff near the steps of the Colorado Capitol turned into a skirmish that ended in police firing rounds of pellets filled with pepper spray.