Occupy Wall Street: New York police evict demonstrators
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New York City police moved in on Zuccotti Park early Tuesday, ordering Occupy Wall Street demonstrators who have been encamped in Lower Manhattan since Sept. 17 to leave or risk arrest.
About 1 a.m., police handed out notices from the park’s owner, Brookfield Office Properties, and the city saying the park had to be cleared because it had become unsanitary and hazardous, the Associated Press reported.
Paul Browne, a police spokesman, said most people began leaving when they received the notices; one person was arrested for disorderly conduct.
Rabbi Chaim Gruber, an Occupy Wall Street member, said police officers were clearing the streets near the park.
“The police are forming a human shield and are pushing everyone away,” he said, according to the Associated Press.
The New York Daily News said hundreds of police were at the scene.
‘I don’t want to leave,’ protester Ben Swenson, 25, said, according to the Daily News. ‘It’s about social justice, equality, even rights.’
Protesters were told they could return but without sleeping bags, tarps or tents.
The protesters’ website streamed live video as the raid unfolded. The website also urged people to “get to the park immediately for eviction defense.” Demonstrators shouted “We love our country” and “You don’t have to do this.”
The eviction came as Occupy Wall Street unveiled a call to “shut down Wall Street” on Thursday morning, and to occupy the city’s subways that afternoon.
Brookfield Office Properties and the city came close to removing the demonstrators on Oct. 14, but backed off.
Occupy Wall Street has sparked similar encampments in cities across the nation, including a tent city on the grounds of Los Angeles City Hall. Residents of the Los Angeles encampment were heard banging drums as midnight approached.
The leaderless movement has complained about a range of issues, including Wall Street practices and student loan indebtedness.
Some cities have taken a more aggressive posture to stem the protests in recent days. Riot police evicted demonstrators Sunday in Portland, Ore., while demonstrators have been arrested in Oakland; Albany, N.Y.; Salt Lake City; and Denver.
-- Steve Clow