Neil Nisperos, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/15/2011 11:20:57 PM PST

COLTON-The Colton City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance that bans encampment on public property after raising concerns that a potential Occupy movement encampment in public parks could endanger public safety.

Councilmembers said they support the right for citizens to protest, but the policymakers cited safety issues arising from Occupy groups in other cities. Officials said they were concerned over the safety of children who play around the parks, and families who live nearby.

“The reports we saw included assaults, attempted rape, drugs and vandalism, and these reports included the need for extra police officers and resources which we don’t have in this community,” said Councilman Vincent Yzaguirre. “We can’t afford it. The bill goes back to the taxpayers and the average citizens.”

The ordinance bans camping or having camping gear on public property – such as city parking lots, sidewalks, streets and parks – on Tuesday, with the stated goal of preventing the Occupy Wall Street protesters from camping near residents.

Violating the law would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months of jail and $1,000 fine.

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