Moral Outrage
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Occupy Protests have cost nation’s cities over $13M

During the first two months of the nationwide Occupy protests, the movement resulted in at least $13 million in police overtime and other municipal services, according to a survey by The Associated Press. And the price of the protests is rising by the day.

The heaviest financial burden has fallen upon law enforcement agencies tasked with monitoring marches and evicting protesters from outdoor camps. And the steepest costs by far piled up in New York City and Oakland, California, where police clashed with protesters on several occasions.

The AP gathered figures from government agencies in 18 cities with active protests and focused on costs through Nov. 15, the day protesters were evicted from New York City’s Zuccotti Park, where the protests began Sept. 17 before spreading nationwide. The survey did not attempt to tally the price of all protests but provides a glimpse into costs to cities large and small.

Protesters blame excessive police presence for the high costs. And they note the cost has been minimal in other cities, and worth it because they have raised awareness about what they say is corporate greed and the growing inequality between rich and poor.

“We’re here fighting corporate greed and they’re worried about a lawn?” said Clark Davis of Occupy Los Angeles, where the city estimates that property damage to a park has been $200,000.

Broken down city by city, the numbers are more or less in line with the cost of policing major public events and emergencies. In Los Angeles, for example, the Michael Jackson memorial concert cost the city $1.4 million. And Atlanta spent several million dollars after a major snow and ice storm this year.

Unlike a parade or a one-day march, the Occupy protests are in their third month in some cities and show no signs of easing up.

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