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Early today, November 15, New York Police evicted the protesters of the Occupy Wall Street movement who have been camping in the Lower Manhattan park since September 17. Bloomberg.com reports that some 200 people were told at 1AM local time pack their belongings and leave the premises or face arrest.
The eviction has come after protest organizers announced plans to move the ‘occupation’ to the subways and effectively shut down Wall Street to mark the two-month anniversary of their cause. The notice served to the protesters read: “The city has determined that the continued occupation of Zuccotti Park poses an increasing health and fire safety hazard.
“We also require that you immediately leave the park on a temporary basis so it can be cleared and restored for its intended use,” the letter declared, according to Foxnews. “You will be allowed to return to the park in several hours, when this work is complete. If you decide to return, you will not be permitted to bring tents, sleeping bags, tarps and similar materials with you.”
The raid lasted over night and left the park empty by 7AM. NYdailynews.com reported the arrest of 100 people, including Manhattan City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez. Reports through Twitter alleged that Rodriguez had been beaten and was bleeding when he was arrested.
Other protesters spoke out about their anger over the handling of the eviction to several media sources; they believe the measures were excessive and maintained that they had not broken the law. “When the cops closed in, people tried to hold on to one another,” said Jose Mediaville, 29, to reporters. “I tried to avoid them, but they got me.
They smashed people in the hands and broke the human chain. They lifted me up and threw me out like a rag doll.” “They don’t even obey their own rules,” Frank Olivo, 21, said according to NYdailynews.com. “What they’re doing is against the law.” Jason Lee of Brooklyn concurred; “They took oaths to protect and serve. They broke that oath tonight. They destroyed what we built.
That’s tyranny by any definition.” Similar moves have been made in Oakland, California, and Portland, Oregon where camps have been cleared — some of them due to deaths in the camp.
“The people who originally founded the encampments are either no longer there or no longer in control,” Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said yesterday to Bloomberg.com. “In part of clearing the camp, we moved a lot of the homeless — they were about half of the residents.”
The total number of arrest related to the New York protest has past 900 people.
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/danielmuenster/