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Occupy KC camp no longer occupies Penn Valley Park

The remaining tents and protesters at the Occupy Kansas City camp in Penn Valley Park were cleared out Friday after seven months of demonstrating without a permit.

“We’ve been fairly patient and restrained ourselves from reacting in the past,” said Dennis Gagnon, a spokesman for the city. “It’s the time of the year where spring weather has come and we’ve got to get the park ready for some events on the books. We’ve got to get the park ready for parks and recreation.”

Campers received a final warning Tuesday that if they did not vacate the site soon, they would be forcibly removed.

Police and city officials arrived at the camp, south of the Liberty Memorial and west of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, shortly before noon Friday. Gagnon said fewer than a half dozen protesters remained. They were told to collect their things and to leave, and what was left was carted away for disposal. There were no arrests.

The only signs of the camp Friday evening were a couple of chairs and a few water bottles.

The populist Kansas City movement was inspired by Occupy Wall Street protesters demonstrating against the inequities of a society in which power is disproportionately wielded by the rich “1 percent.”

The peak of the Occupy Kansas City effort may have come in October when about 300 people gathered for a Sunday rally. City officials think some of the people who took more or less permanent residence at the camp site were homeless. A separate homeless camp in Penn Valley Park, to the west of the Occupy site, also was cleared Friday.

Gagnon said that in both cases officials offered to help connect the campers with social services.

Penn Valley Park is the site of the annual Rockfest event in May, which draws more than 50,000 people to the area.

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