After homeless man Michael Manhard, 42, was found dead in his tent at Pioneer Park this past Friday, Occupy Salt Lake protesters were forced to vacate the area. Nineteen people were arrested Saturday night, as the po-po bulldozed the crap out of the premises.
Hours after Manhard was found dead of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning and a drug overdose, Salt Lake City police Chief Chris Burbank announced that nighttime camping would be banned, and in the meantime everyone would have to get the eff out.
Protesters were given an opportunity to gather their stuff, but it's not clear where people stayed once they were kicked out. The bulldozer was technically not a bulldozer, but even though it was a slightly less-threatening front-end loader, protester Drew Baker was quick to draw comparisons to a police state. The clearing out of Pioneer Park, the center of the Occupy Salt Lake rallies, went peacefully, even though nineteen folks were arrested for not leaving.
Despite being booted, protesters were back Sunday, doing their thing. "We are here as an assembly of the people," said an anonymous protester. "They can tear down our tents but they can't tear us down. We are going to march forward under a broader vision."
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, "Occupy SLC members have complained the city used Manhard’s death as a pretense to close the camp and pointed out that more than 50 homeless people died in Salt Lake City last year with no response from the city."
A makeshift memorial for Michael Manhard was erected in the park Sunday.