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Police arrest more than dozen while clearing Kalamazoo homeless camp

Associated Press
Kalamazoo City Commissioner Shannon Sykes, left, links arms with an activist being arrested at the Bronson Park encampment in downtown Kalamazoo on Sept. 19, 2018.

Kalamazoo – Police arrested more than a dozen people while clearing out a homeless camp in southwestern Michigan that’s been a focus of protests since last month by those seeking better resources for homeless people.

The city of Kalamazoo had set a Tuesday evening deadline for people to leave Bronson Park and police arrived Wednesday morning, about 12 hours after the deadline passed. Police dismantled tents and arrested 14, including protesters who wouldn’t leave.

Activists line up for a willing arrest at the Bronson Park encampment in downtown Kalamazoo.

Public Safety Chief Karianne Thomas tells the Kalamazoo Gazette city Commissioner Shannon Sykes Nehring was arrested for resisting and obstructing police.

Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety officers arrest activists protesting at the Bronson Park encampment in downtown Kalamazoo.

Sykes Nehring, who had joined the protesters, said: “They don’t go without me.”

Homelessness has been in the spotlight in Kalamazoo in recent weeks since a proposal to crack down on sleeping and camping in city parks drew criticism.

Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety officers issue citations to campers at the Bronson Park encampment in downtown Kalamazoo, Mich., on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018.