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The Tuesday raid was the second on Occupy Miami in the past six weeks. On January 31, Miami-Dade cops evicted protesters from Government Center. This time it was City of Miami police officers that arrived in SWAT vans and emerged with their assault rifles drawn.
"They were pointing guns at children!" says Ramy Mahmoud, one of three Occupy Miami members taken in for questioning and then released without charges.
Mahmoud and other Occupy Miami members were preparing to travel downtown to protest the birthday of Chase Bank CEO Jaime Dimon when at least half a dozen police vehicles screeched to a halt in front of the building on NW Seventh Street.
A cop in a dress shirt and bullet-proof vest jumped out of an unmarked car, aimed his gun at them, and shouted, "Everyone on the ground," according to Occupy Miami members.
"I thought it was either a joke or he was robbing us," says an occupier who gave his name only as Cobra. "Then an ice-cream truck full of SWAT officers pulled up."
"They said that they had gotten a tip that we had "long guns" and were going to use them at our protest," Occupy member Thomas Parisi told Miami New Times. "But we are a peaceful movement and told them that we had no intention of doing anything like that."