Police Clear ‘Occupy’ Camps in LA, Philadelphia

Posted November 30th, 2011 at 4:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Police in Los Angeles and Philadelphia have cleared camps of Occupy Wall Street protesters, with more than 200 people arrested in Los Angeles and more than 50 people ending up in detention in Philadelphia.

In Los Angeles early Wednesday, many demonstrators willingly left the scene, as more than 1,000 police officers moved through the camp around City Hall where protesters had been situated for the past eight weeks. Police arrested those who refused to leave.

Across the country in Philadelphia, police emptied a similar makeshift camp. Later, protesters began an hours-long march through the city, resulting in the arrest of 52 people.

The removal of protesters in both cities was relatively peaceful, unlike previous evictions in other cities, including Oakland, California. Protesters were given a deadline of Sunday to vacate the camps.

Los Angeles city officials moved to clear what they called an “unlawful assembly” after raising concerns about crime, sanitation and property damage. As the sun rose Wednesday, tents, trash and a lingering stench were all that was left of the camp.

The city's mayor and police chief praised police officers for their restraint in carrying out the eviction, as they took measures to enforce the closure of the park.

But some protesters are saying police were too violent. One local television station has footage of several police officers throwing a man to the ground as he was trying to photograph them.

The loosely associated “Occupy” movement began in September in New York's Zuccotti Park, where a small group of people began protesting what it called economic inequality and corporate greed.