DENVER (CBS4) – Denver City Council members are raising serious concerns about the rising cost of the Occupy Denver movement.
The protesters are vowing to stay calm after several confrontations on Saturday. Police arrested 20 people and used pepper balls and mace to break up the crowd.
Council members say all the security is expensive. The total cost of Saturday’s protest is still being compiled. It’s expected to exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now some protestors are calling for change in their own movement.
Organizers say Saturday night left more than bruises on protesters — it was a black eye for their movement.
“We want to be talking about Wall Street. We want to be talking about campaign finance reform. We don’t want to talk about First Amendment rights,” Jason Roth with the Occupy Denver movement said.
Occupy Denver held a peace vigil asking for protesters to stop inciting police. They say they can’t afford another scene like Saturday’s. The city also feels the same way.
“We’re dealing with a challenging economic time. We’re having to tighten our belts just like every household,” Councilwoman Deborah Ortega said.
Ortega said police spent $300,000 two weeks ago on crowd control. Overtime had to be paid and extra squads were called in. Saturday may have been just as expensive.
“If it comes out of the reserve fund it reduces money in the city’s balance,” Ortega said.
PHOTO GALLERY: Occupy Denver
Some protesters say Saturday showed their message had been hijacked and they’ll work to redirect.
“We will be having non-violent protest training daily within the course of the next week,” Roth said.
Ortega said she’ll request a meeting with city council and the Denver police later this week to know exactly how much police have spent on the Occupy Denver movement and to know where money will have to come from to pay for it.