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State Police arrest six members of Occupy Baltimore

ProtestMaryland State Police

Maryland State Police arrested six members of Occupy Baltimore Monday evening for allegedly trespassing on the state-owned site of a proposed juvenile detention center in East Baltimore.

The arrests of four men and two women came about two hours after they began erecting a plywood structure — painted red and representing a schoolhouse — inside the fenced site at East Madison and Graves streets near the city's complex of jails and prisons.

State police spokesman Greg Shipley said the six individuals were told they were entering private property, which is owned by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. Several troopers stationed inside the site tried to negotiate with the protesters building the structure, encouraging them to leave, Shipley said.

The six individuals, whose names were not released Monday night, had erected four walls and six roof trusses before they were arrested. They were being processed at Central Booking and each was charged with trespassing, Shipley said.

Despite the arrests, Occupy Baltimore said on Twitter last night that "protest, food, workshops still continue all week"

Shipley said troopers were securing the area Monday when members of Occupy Baltimore pulled up and started moving materials over the chain link fence.

State troopers planned to work with the Division of Corrections to dismantle the structure Monday night, Shipley said.

Members arrived there to start the five-day "Schools Not Jails Occupation" after a rally at Central Booking on East Madison Street.

Casey McKeel, a member of Occupy Baltimore's legal team, said members were told that they were not allowed inside the fenced site. Regardless, the members plan to be there for five days, McKeel said.

Outside the fenced site, where a large tent was set up on the sidewalk, more than 60 members were chanting, "Money for jobs and education, not for mass incarceration."

Occupy members are coordinating the event with the Baltimore Algebra Project, a nonprofit group that works to improve public education. The groups say money allocated for the jail should instead be spent on education and youth-recreation programs.

In December, the city evicted Occupy Baltimore protesters during an early-morning raid at McKeldin Square, where the activists had been staying for about 10 weeks.

Baltimore Sun reporter Alison Knezevich contributed to this article.

hanah.cho@baltsun.com

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