Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Police Begin Clearing Zuccotti Park of Protesters

Hundreds of New York City police officers began clearing Zuccotti Park of the Occupy Wall Street protesters early Tuesday, telling the people there that the nearly two-month-old camp would be “cleared and restored” before the morning and that any demonstrator who did not leave would be arrested. Hundreds of New York police, some dressed in riot gear, cleared out "Occupy Wall Street" in Zuccotti Park early Tuesday so that sanitation crews could clean the site. Protesters were issued eviction letters and warned they would be arrested if they remained.
The protesters, about 200 of whom have been staying in the park overnight, initially resisted with chants of “Whose park? Our park!” as officers began moving in and tearing down tents. The protesters rallied around an area known as the kitchen, near the middle of the park and began building barricades with tables and pieces of scrap wood.

Over the next two hours, dozens of protesters left the park, while a core group of about 100 dug in around the food area. Many locked arms and defied police orders to leave. By 3 a.m., dozens of helmet-clad officers, watched over by Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, closed in on the remaining protesters. They pulled them out one protester at a time and handcuffed them. Most were walked out without incident.

The officers had gathered between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges earlier and rode in vans to the one-square-block park. They entered shortly about 1 a.m.

As they did, dozens of protesters linked arms and shouted “No retreat, no surrender,” “This is our home” and “Barricade!”
According to their website, the day will include "Mass, Non-violent Direct Action" to "Shut Down Wall Street" at 7:00am, "Occupy the Subways" in all five boroughs at 3:00pm and "Take the Square," referring to Foley Square, at 5:00pm.

The crackdown follows similar eviction notices being issued at protest camps in Oakland, Calif., and Portland, Ore., in the past few days amid health and safety fears.

Three sets of eviction notices have been issued to campers at "Occupy Oakland" since Friday, with 33 demonstrators arrested after failing to disperse early Monday morning, the Oakland Tribune reported.

Police have maintained a presence at the camp in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, saying people can continue to rally but cannot camp or sleep there.

On Sunday, "Occupy Portland" protesters were evicted from their headquarters and about 50 were arrested as authorities cleaned up the parks the group had been residing in since the beginning of the demonstration in early October, the Portland Tribune reported.


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