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Police arrest seven people outside City Hall as tents cleared

Campers in front of City Hall yell at police after they start removing tents and personal belongings. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

Tents and belongings of homeless individuals were disposed of in front of Austin City Hall on Monday morning, sparking outrage among campers and leading to multiple arrests.

According to Austin police, seven people were arrested as a result of the incident with offenses ranging from interference with public duties and failure to obey a lawful order.

The city of Austin released a statement that the area on the corner of Guadalupe and Cesar Chavez was being cleared for construction and police said campers along the North side of City Hall, facing West Cesar Chavez, were "trespassing on private property." A City spokesperson said the campers had already received requests to move.

This comes as the city enters phase two of implementing the camping ban, allowing police to issue citations across the city for those camping and panhandling in restricted areas. Phase three, which starts in about 30 days, calls for camps to be officially cleared out.

Tents were pitched outside of City Hall in early May as a protest to when Prop B was passed. Now about 30 days later, some homeless residents on-site say they had no warning that the area would be cleared. However, the city states members of the Homeless Outreach Street Team and the Austin Police Department's District Representatives informed those around City Hall.

Tensions rose all morning between campers and cops that lined the area.

As camps clear out now and in the future, there is no clear option for where those individuals will go. Austin City Council didn't vote on new sanctioned camps for the homeless before they went on a six-week break. However, they did allocate over $100 million to homeless resources on Thursday.


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