Five Occupy Austin protesters arrested

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Five Occupy Austin protesters were arrested Thursday evening for criminal trespassing at City Hall during a mandatory power-washing in which protesters are not allowed to demonstrate on the plaza.

The arrests at City Hall followed a demonstration at the Capitol where several hundred protesters gathered to commemorate the two-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall St. movement.

Arrested protester James Hill O’Brien chained himself to a tree to protest the warning he and other protesters received that prohibited them from returning to the area after their previous arrests at City Hall.

The protesters gathered around O’Brien, and after refusing to comply with police orders to disperse from the tree, the protesters were arrested without incident.

Occupy Austin spokeswoman Wendy Darling said the warning that prohibits arrested protesters from returning to City Hall has a negative effect on the Occupy Austin movement.

“We suffered a gaping wound in our organization when many of our most committed members had their First Amendment rights infringed following the Oct. 30 arrests,” Darling said in a statement released after the most recent arrests. “Each day this infringement on our most basic rights is allowed to continue, it creates a new, irrevocable injury.”