Obama: Cities must make own decisions on protests

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Associated Press

Posted on November 15, 2011 at 5:05 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 15 at 6:35 PM

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (AP) — President Barack Obama's spokesman is suggesting the president believes it's up to New York and other municipalities to decide how much force to use in dealing with Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.

Spokesman Jay Carney also says Obama hopes the right balance can be reached between protecting freedom of assembly and speech with the need to uphold order and safeguard public health and safety.

Carney spoke to reporters Tuesday as Obama flew to Australia. He was asked whether Obama had been following the early-morning police raid on Zuccotti Park in New York, where Occupy Wall Street protesters have camped out for weeks.

Carney said the president was "aware of it."

He said the administration's position is that each municipality has to make its own decisions about how to handle these issues.

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