Occupy Phoenix protesters speak out about arrests

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PHOENIX -- Occupy Phoenix protesters were back in the Cesar Chavez Memorial Plaza downtown on Monday even though 49 people were arrested for trespassing over the weekend.

The protesters spent several hours in jail.

"I was in jail 18 hours and we were only fed once," Peter Szayer said.

Szayer described one of his worst nights ever.

"They throw the food at you in the morning and night just like you're a monkey in a zoo," Janet Higgins said.

Higgins and Szayer refused to leave Margaret T. Hance Park Saturday after it closed and were arrested.

"I think the excessive show of force by the police department was totally uncalled for," Higgins said.

Sgt. Trent Crump with the Phoenix Police Department disagreed.

"What people don't realize is there were individuals running around at those crowds that were already gas masked up and wearing bandannas over their mouth," Crump said.

Szayer wants to know why protesters weren't cited instead of arrested?

"If someone is refusing to leave, it's our opinion that handing them a written ticket for them to appear isn't going to change the problem," Crump said.

Demonstraters question the cost to taxpayers for deploying riot officers and a chopper Saturday.

"If we're talking dollars I can't answer that question," Crump answered. "Our officers will report in via time sheets this week and we haven't received all those."

The sergeant said the message is simple, if people don't like jail, then don't break the law.

Both Szayer and Higgins said they would go back to jail.

Occupy Phoenix protesters say they are against corporate greed, economic inequality and the high price of health care to name a few things.