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Occupy protests bloom again in Denver May Day rally

9:23 PM, May 1, 2012   |    comments
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Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Denver's Civic Center Park Tuesday to show support for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Tuesday night, there was a sleep-in on the 16th Street Mall. By 10 p.m., there were about two dozen protestors in front of the Sunglass Hut.

Denver Police had two squad cars and three motorcycle officer patrolling the area. The Denver Pavilions also had security personnel on scene.

Signs were also posted clarifying what was public or private property.

Occupy Denver once had thousands of people participating at its peak in the fall of 2011, but events were few and far between during the winter months.

It leaves many wondering whether the group will regain its previous momentum as summer approaches.

Jake Gunter, a critic of the movement who showed up to observe, says the group lacks focus, which enabled it to bring so many people in.

"But you can't keep doing that forever because eventually you're going to have to start making decisions," Gunter said. "You're going to unfortunately have to exclude certain groups for your movement because when you make stance you're going to piss some people off, and until Occupy starts to do that, I don't see it taking any serious political effect whatsoever."

Supporters of the movement say Occupy Denver is still going strong.

"It hasn't lost intensity at all," Corrine Fowler with the Colorado Progressive Coalition said. "You don't see people out in the street as often or in the large numbers, but people are actually very organized. The Occupy movement is more organized than anybody knows."

The Occupy movement wanted to call a protest today because May 1 - or May Day - is recognized by some as is International Worker's Day. Protest organizers say they intended to show the "1 percent" what life without the "99 percent" would look like.

While it did not cause that sort of disruption to Denver's businesses, marchers did disrupt downtown streets.

With a police escort, a few hundred marched through the streets of downtown Denver, briefly disrupting traffic.

Denver Police confirm one man was arrested during the march, who was "aggressive with other participants," according to a spokesperson.

The march was peaceful, but the protestors did veer off of the planned course, disrupting traffic in more areas than originally planned.

Police decided to make a visual display of officers in riot gear, though they never clashed with demonstrators.

Protestors eventually returned to Civic Center Park for teach-ins, music, trading stations, food and other activities through sunset on Tuesday.

As a protest to the proposed urban-camping ban working its way through Denver City Council, Occupy protesters plan to camp on the 16th Street mall starting at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The Occupy Denver protest started back at the end of September 2011.

On Friday, one of the people living in the area came forward saying they have scabies - a contagious parasitic disease. To prevent future problems, crews will now continuously remove items left in the public right of way and power wash the sidewalks along Broadway from Colfax to 14th avenues. Any items left behind will be removed, thrown away or placed into the Denver Police Department's property bureau.

This is the most-notable Occupy demonstration in Denver since Occupy campers were evicted from Civic Center Park.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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