Anti-Wall Street Protests Becoming a Public Hazard

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Occupy Wall Street protests have been popping up in cities across the country for weeks, with several leading to violent clashes with local police.

The movement began when protesters gathered in New York's financial district vowing to "occupy Wall Street" until their demands were met.

Since then, the campaign has spread, with demonstrators setting up tent cities in parks and plazas across the U.S.

Those protest cities have now become a public health nightmare.

Piles of garbage, human waste and even rat infestations have become the norm, leading many officials to say "enough."

"I made the decision with the team that was in place to put an end to what I see as a very critical situation that posed significant risk," Oakland City Administrator Deanna Santana said.

However, demonstrators in some areas are refusing to leave, leading to violence.

In Oakland, Calif., more than a thousand protesters clashed with police.

"Taking away people's right to peacefully assemble -- in this country, this is really outrageous," protester Bradley Judd complained.

But according to Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan, the protests were anything but peaceful, with many Occupiers throwing rocks and bottles law enforcement officers.

"They had already thrown bottles at us," he said. "They were going back into a garbage can to retrieve more bottles, and by policy we are allowed to use less lethal rounds to neutralize that person and take him into custody."

The clashes left a 24-year-old Iraq veteran in critical condition after he was struck by a police projectile during the melee.

"It's unfortunate it happened," Jordan said. "I wish that it didn't happen. Our goal, obviously, isn't to cause injury to anyone."

In Atlanta, a man was spotted in the camp with an AK-47, leading the mayor to send in SWAT teams.

That situation ended peacefully, but more than 50 protesters were arrested for refusing to leave.

In New York, it's the residents that are ready for an end to the protests.
    
A neighborhood bordering the park where the protests began is proposing a two-hour time limit on loud noises.
    
Even so, protesters have no plans to leave.

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Heather Sells

Heather Sells

CBN News Reporter

Heather Sells enjoys reporting on a variety of issues for CBN News. Some of her recent stories have focused on religious liberties, technology, AIDS, overseas missions, domestic trafficking, and politics.  Follow Heather on Twitter @SellsHeather and "like" her at Facebook.com/HeatherSellsCBNNews.