Occupy Wall Street: New York police clear Zuccotti Park
(BBC News) --
New York police have dismantled the Occupy Wall Street camp in Zuccotti Park and arrested about 200 people following a raid in the early hours.
Protesters were ordered to leave at about 01:00 (06:00 GMT), before police began removing tents and property.
The New York camp was set up in September to protest against economic inequality - it inspired similar demonstrations around the world.
It was the latest camp to be cleared by police in US cities in recent days.
Following Tuesday's eviction, a New York state judge issued an order ruling protesters could return to the park, pending a hearing at 11:30 (16:30 GMT).
But the city's Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the park would remain closed while officials reviewed the legal situation.
In a news conference, Mr Bloomberg said there was a conflict between protecting public health and safety and protesters' First Amendment rights.
"Unfortunately, the park was becoming a place where people came not to protest, but rather to break laws, and in some cases, to harm others," Mr Bloomberg said...
"The First Amendment gives every New Yorker the right to speak out - but it does not give anyone the right to sleep in a park or otherwise take it over to the exclusion of others."
Police in New York gave an announcement as their operation began, telling protesters: "The city has determined that the continued occupation of Zuccotti Park poses an increasing health and fire safety hazard."
Leaflets were handed out telling occupants to "immediately remove all private property" and warning they would be arrested if they interfered with the operation...
The area around the park was sealed off and journalists were prevented from entering. Some of the activists accused police of using excessive force and pepper spray.
Police spokesman Paul Browne said most people left the park when ordered, but that a small group of people had refused.
The 200 or so people arrested included some who had chained themselves together...
The city authorities and Mayor Bloomberg had come under pressure from residents and businesses to shut down the camp, which had about 200 occupants as it neared its two-month anniversary.
There had been plans for a street carnival to descend on Wall Street on Thursday in an attempt to shut it down, to mark the camp's two-month anniversary.
By daylight the camp had been entirely cleared, a step welcomed by some local businesses.
"I support them but we have to work, not do revolution," a juice stall vendor told the AFP news agency. "I don't support revolution or idleness. Idleness is not good for our country."
But activists released a statement saying that while they may have been physically removed, "you can't evict an idea whose time has come"...MORE...LINK
Chris Moore comments:
Michael Bloomberg, what a disgusting commissar coward, ordering the police crackdown in the middle of the night to catch protesters by surprise and prevent the media from covering the brutality.
In an earlier life, he must have been a Jewish Bolshevik commissar. Now, like his neocon brethren, he’s morphed into naked Zionist fascism.