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Four Occupy Austin protesters arrested

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Four Occupy Austin protesters were arrested early on Thursday for criminal trespassing after they refused to leave the protest site outside City Hall when city workers came to clean the area, Austin police said.

"The majority of the protesters agreed to leave City Hall while they cleaned up," police spokesman Corporal Anthony Hipolito told Reuters. "Four refused to leave."

Hipolito said the four did not resist arrest.

The protest later resumed, and by 8:15 a.m., there were about a dozen protesters at City Hall.

The Austin protest is one of many being held across the country by demonstrators who say they are angry over economic inequality and what they see as Wall Street greed.

"There wasn't really any reason for them to get arrested," said protester Lex Simko, 26, a musician. "Maybe they could have been gently escorted away instead."

In general, though, he said, the protesters and the police have been getting along smoothly.

One day last week, for example, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo mingled with the crowd, stopping to pose for photos with a protester who carried a sign that said "Shame on N.Y.P.D., God bless A.P.D."

And on Thursday morning, a protester approached a police officer to offer him a flower.

(Reporting by Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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