*ALERT: Cleveland Police ARREST Tent City homeless & advocates

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sat, 25 Dec 1999 00:05:32 -0800 (PST)

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FWD  Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Dec 23, 1999 10:12


CLEVELAND (AP) _ A homeless tent village erected on downtown's
Public Square prompted police to arrest five people and disperse
about six others for holding what they called an illegal

Police only arrested those who would not leave the site early
today, said Nancy Lesic, Mayor Michael R. White's press secretary,
and police spokesman Lt. Ed Thiery.

The homeless people and homeless advocates who began sitting
underneath tarps at 4 p.m. Wednesday lacked a permit that is
required for demonstrators to be on city property, they said.

Brian Davis, director of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the
Homeless, said the city is trying to keep the homeless away from
Public Square, which is decorated for Christmas and a New Year's
Eve celebration and is near retailers.

Police turned out at 3 a.m. to stop ``a very small demonstration
on Public Square that could possibly jeopardize sales downtown,
because pedestrians don't want to see a tent with homeless people
two days before Christmas,'' Davis said.

Of the people arrested, two are homeless, he said.

About three weeks ago, the mayor announced police were stepping
up enforcement against street crime and panhandlers downtown.

``This group was treated consistently with the way we have
handled this issue in the past,'' Ms. Lesic said. ``They were
holding an illegal demonstration. They did not get a permit. If
they want to hold a demonstration, we can help them through that

City officials and lawyers of the American Civil Liberties Union
will meet this afternoon to discuss what Davis called a policy
violating the civil rights of the homeless.

AP-CS-12-23-99 1111EST
Received  Id AP99357B6860200 on Dec 23 1999 14:51


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