Encampment sweeps and arrests are increasing as mayors from Oakland to Atlanta reach a turning point in their negotiations with the Occupy Wall Street movement.
A few days after seeming to accept the idea of Occupy Oakland protesters camping outside Oakland City Hall by saying "democracy is messy," Mayor Jean Quan ordered riot police Tuesday to move in and scatter two city protest camps in the pre-dawn hours.
In Atlanta, after originally giving protesters until Nov. 7 to clear out from a downtown park, Mayor Kasim Reed threatened to revoke that order on Monday. He said the relationship between the city and protesters had changed and campers are "on a clear path to escalation."
While the original Occupy Wall Street protesters have won standoffs with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, other city mayors are quickly losing patience with the protest movement, which drew inspiration from Middle East revolutions and anti-austerity protests in Europe as it spread to dozens of US cities in recent weeks.
The rising tensions are testing how far protesters are willing to go to draw attention to their cause – and how long local authorities are willing to let their parks and squares remain occupied.
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