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Occupy evictions include Pittsburgh, Miami and Portland, Maine

Occupy evictions have been occurring with some frequency over the past few months. A camp in Portland, Maine is one of the most recent among Occupy evictions.

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"They've asked for this amount of time in order to remove the remaining structures, so we're taking them at their word," said Nicole Clegg, city spokeswoman.

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Occupy Maine started up Oct. 1 with a protest in Portland's Monument square and set up in Lincoln Park two days later.

Throughout the frigid Maine winter, when temperatures have dropped below zero, protesters rotated in and out to keep a constant presence, with those in the park keeping the cold at bay by huddling in communal tents equipped with propane heaters.

At one point, as many as 70 tents were set up in Lincoln Park, but that number had dropped by the time a state judge last week declined to grant Occupy Maine's request for injunction to prevent the city from enforcing an eviction notice issued Dec. 15.

Like in many other cities, Portland officials cited concerns about disturbances, public safety and sanitation at the park, which is supposed to close between 10 p.m. and 6:30 a.m.

In Portland, the demonstrators were largely peaceful. But some of the city's homeless moved in, along with associated problems of substance abuse and mental illness. Police said the number of calls to the park jumped after the demonstrators set up camp.

Most big occupy encampments — including the flagship at New York's Zuccotti Park and in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Oakland, Philadelphia and Portland, Ore. — were forcibly cleared late last year by officials who cited problems similar to Portland's.

In the first big wave of evictions, police acknowledged consulting and sharing information and tactics with colleagues elsewhere. The level of consultation this time around is not clear, although a Portland spokesman did acknowledge talks with officials in Bangor and Augusta, other Maine cities with an Occupy presence.

John Branson, attorney for Occupy Maine, argued that the Portland campers were demonstrating their rights to freedom of expression. He said campers will decide after they finish the cleanup whether they want to continue to pursue the lawsuit.

For now, they're concentrating on getting the park cleaned up, he said, and they plan to raise money to plant new grass and shrubbery in the spring.

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