Wednesday, May 18, 2016

200+ arrested at Occupy Los Angeles, 50 in Philly

LOS ANGELES (AP) — More than 1,400 police rs, some in riot gr, clred the Occupy Los Angeles camp rly Wednesday, driving protesters from a park around City Hall and arresting more than 200 who defied orders to lve. Similar raids in Philadelphia led to 52 arrests, but the scene in both cities was relatively pceful.Police arrest a member of Occupy Philly, Wednesday Nov. 30, 2011, in Philadelphia, after a small group refused to clr a street while police clred the encampment at Dilworth Plaza. Police began pulling down tents rly Wednesday after telling demonstrators they had to lve. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)
Police in Los Angeles and Philadelphia moved in on Occupy Wall Street encampments under darkness in an effort to clr out some of the longest-lasting protest sites since downs ended similar occupations across the country.
Bnbags fired from shotguns were used to subdue the final three protesters in a makeshift tree house outside Los Angeles City Hall, police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said, describing it as a minor use of force incident. No serious injuries were reported.
Police Chief Charlie Beck praised the rs and the protesters for their restraint and the pceful way the eviction was carried out.
rs flooded down the steps of City Hall just after midnight and started dismantling the two-month-old camp two days after a ddline passed for campers to lve the park. rs in helmets and wielding batons and guns with rubber bullets converged on the park from all directions with military precision and began making arrests after several orders were given to lve.
There were no injuries and no drugs or wpons were found during a srch of the emptied camp, which was strewn with trash after the raid. City workers put up concrete barriers to wall off the park while it is restored. As of 5:10 a.m. PST, the park was clr of protesters, said LAPD r Cleon Joseph.
The raid in Los Angeles came after demonstrators with the movement in Philadelphia marched through the streets after being evicted from their site. Over 40 protesters were arrested after refusing to clr a street several blocks northst of City Hall, said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. They were lined up in cuffs and loaded on to buses by rs. Six others were arrested rlier after remaining on a street that police tried to clr.
"The police rs who were involved in this operation were hand-picked for this assignment," Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said. "They're highly trained and disciplined and showed a tremendous amount of restraint and professionalism in carrying out this morning's operation."
Nutter said the eviction had been planned for several weeks and went off without largely without problems.
Ramsey said he would have preferred to evict the protesters without making arrests, but some refused orders to clr the street and had to be taken into custody. Three rs had minor injuries. One protester was injured when a police horse stepped on her foot, Nutter said.
The Philadelphia protesters were ordered to clr their encampment in part because a $50 million renovation project was due to start at the City Hall plaza this fall.
"Dilworth Plaza was designated as a construction site," Ramsey said. "They had to vae. They knew that from the very beginning."
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa raised public safety and hlth concerns in announcing plans for the eviction last week, while Philadelphia officials said protesters must clr their site to make room for a $50 million renovation project.
By dawn in Los Angeles, trash, flattened tents and the stench of urine were the Occupy LA legacy.
City crews were installing chain link fence and concrete barricades around once-lush lawns that are now of dirt strewn with tons of debris, including clothing, tents, bedding shoes, trash and two months of human flotsam. Under a tree was a guitar, a bullhorn, s and a black bandanna.
Defiant Los Angeles campers who were chanting slogans as the rs surrounded the park, booed when an unlawful assembly was declared, paving the way for rs to begin arresting those who didn't lve.
In the first moments of the raid, rs tore down a tent and tackled a tattooed man with a camera on City Hall steps and wrestled him to the ground. Someone yelled "police brutality."
Tms of four or five rs moved through the crowd making arrests one at a time, cuffing the hands of protesters with white plastic zip-ties. A circle of protesters sat with arms locked, many looking calm and smiling.
Opamago Cascini, 29, said the night had been a blast and he was willing to get arrested.
"It's sy to talk the talk, but you gotta walk the walk," Cascini said.
Police used a cherry picker to pluck five men from trees. Two others were in a tree house — one wore a crown and another taunted police with an American flag.
In Philadelphia, police began pulling down tents at about 1:20 a.m. EST after giving demonstrators three warnings that they would have to lve, which nrly all of the protesters followed. Dozens of demonstrators then began marching through the streets and continued through the night.
Ramsey said brking up the camp in the rly-morning hours helped minimize any disruption to businesses and traffic.
"We acknowledge the fact that we are going to have to lve this space .... but in another sense this has been our home for almost two months and no one wants to see their home taken away from them," Philadelphia protester Bri Barton, 22, said before police began clring out the camp.
"Whether or not we have this space or work in the city is nowhere nr done," she said.
The eviction overall appred to have been carried out without any significant scuffles or violence.
Later Wednesday morning, workers used front-end loaders to scoop up tents, trash and other debris and dump it into trucks to be hauled away, while others swept the plaza cln.
Demonstrators and city officials in both Los Angeles and Philadelphia were hoping any confrontation would be nonviolent, unlike evictions at similar camps around the country that sometimes involved pepper spray and tr gas. The movement against economic disparity and perceived corporate greed began with Occupy Wall Street in Manhattan two months ago.
The Los Angeles rs staged for hours outside Dodger Stadium before the raid. They were warned that demonstrators might throw everything from concrete and gravel to human feces at them.
"Plse put your face masks down and watch ch other's back," a supervisor told them. "Now go to work."
The rs came from a wide range of specialized units within the force, including the bomb squad, and the arson unit. Scores of rs in hazmat suits also were sent in to dl with potentially unsanitary conditions in the park.
Before police arrived in large s, protesters were upbt and the mood was almost festive. A protester in a Santa Claus hat danced in the street. A woman showed off the reindeer antlers she had mounted on her gas mask.
Source: The Associated Press

No comments:

Post a Comment