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41 cited at Occupy Tucson over long weekend

Tucson police cited 41 Occupy Tucson protesters for refusing to leave Veinte de Agosto Park at night over the long Veterans Day weekend, a department spokeswoman said.

There have been over 570 arrests since the protest began Oct. 15, police records show.

Thursday night, 10 demonstrators were arrested, said TPD's Sgt. Maria Hawke. Friday night, 9 were given tickets, followed by 13 on Saturday night and 9 on Sunday night.

Although the downtown park, also known as Pancho Villa Park, closes at dusk, police waited until about 10:30 p.m. to issue citations for being in the park after closing time, Hawke said.

Demonstrators moved to the park after being evicted from nearby Armory Park two weeks ago.

The number of nightly arrests has dropped since the move, coinciding with a drop in temperatures. 9 were given tickets last Monday night, 11 on Tuesday, and 11 Wednesday. Police had been citing some 20 or more protesters each night until just before the move from Armory Park.

Occupy Tucson protesters have been allowed to remain in the parks overnight after being cited for the misdemeanor offense of being in a park after closing time. Each night, police allow those who wish to leave to do so before making arrests and writing tickets.

The protesters face a maximum $1,000 fine for violating the park closing rules, a misdemeanor, but many of those arrested for trespassing at unrelated Tucson demonstrations in the past have seen their charges dismissed.

Magistrate Anthony Riojas ruled Monday that he will order demonstrators with three or more citations to not return to the park after closing time. Riojas said he will begin reviewing cases for multiple tickets beginning Friday. Lawyers for the protesters said they would appeal the move.

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