Occupy Phoenix protesters arrested 12 nights ago spend day in court

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PHOENIX -- A downtown Phoenix courtoom was packed Wednesday with dozens of Occupy Phoenix protesters.

Dozens of demonstrators were arrested Oct. 15 for trespassing.

"I think it was a huge waste of taxpayers money to pay 200 riot cops to arrest nearly 50 people sitting peaceful in a park," said protester Cody Hunt, 20.

Police disagreed and locked up 49 people. 

Beth Payne, 20, also spent the night locked up for refusing to leave Hance Park after it closed.

"We really feel we aren't guilty of anything. We feel that federal law trumps city code," Payne argued.

Both Payne and Hunt were back downtown Wednesday spreading their message.

"We were exercising our First Amendment right to peacefully assemble and speak our piece.  That trumps city code, so we want to fight it all the way," Payne said.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the net worth of the top 1 percent of Americans jumped 275 percent in the last 30 years, while the income of those at the bottom increased just 18 percent.

Those numbers are what protesters are hoping will change.

"Most Americans don't have a good quality of life because of distribution of wealth. We think that's reinforced by our laws and our financial structure," Payne said.

Protesters want change done peacefully, without the chaos we saw in Oakland Tuesday night.

One man was seriously injured after Occupy Oakland protesters and police threw down.

"I'm disgusted with what's happening in Oakland," Payne said.

Phoenix protesters are allowed to stay in Cesar Chavez Memorial Plaza through the evenings, as long as no one sleeps in the plaza.

Protesters say they will occupy the plaza indefinitely until change happens.