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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This is what a police state looks like: Police clear Occupy camps in Los Angeles, Philly

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Police in Los Angeles and Philadelphia dismantled tents and arrested Occupy protesters who refused to leave city areas early Wednesday.
Los Angeles police moved in at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday (3:30 a.m. ET). About an hour later, the City Hall lawn was cleared and closed for cleanup. About 200 people were arrested in the operation, utilizing some 1,400 officers, said Police Chief Charlie Beck.
Police described the operation as fairly peaceful. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa early Wednesday praised officers' professionalism.
The Los Angeles encampment, which has been in place for some 60 days, had become the largest remaining one after police raided New York's Zuccotti Park on November 15 and dismantled the nearly two-month-old camp.
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In Philadelphia, CNN affiliate WPVI reported about 40 protesters were arrested following a clash with police.
Authorities evicted members of the Occupy Philadelphia movement just after 1 a.m. ET from Dilworth Plaza, near City Hall. About six people were arrested there, according to WPVI. Other protesters continued marching around the city. Scuffles broke out about 4:40 a.m. after police told protesters to vacate the street, the station reported.
A group of protesters remained across from Dilworth Plaza late into the night, but mounted police cleared the scene, WPVI said.
Four people were injured, the station reported, citing Mayor Michael Nutter. Two police officers sustained minor injuries while making arrests, a third was hurt when taking down a tent and a protester was hurt when a police horse stepped on her foot, Nutter said.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told WPVI that police will stay at Dilworth Plaza for as long as it takes. Several streets were closed until further notice, the station said.
On Monday, Nutter gave protesters camped at Dilworth Plaza a 48-hour notice to vacate the site, citing a pending construction project.
In Los Angeles, officers in riot gear and armed with batons closed off streets around City Hall, using bullhorns to warn scores of agitated Occupy LA protesters to disperse.
"This has been declared to be an unlawful assembly. You have seven minutes to gather your belongings and decide to leave," one officer said.
During the raid, more than a dozen protesters sat in a tight circle in the middle of the park with their arms linked. Some cried. Some wore masks.
A white police truck drove through the center of the park, announcing orders to disperse in English and Spanish.
Some campers left willingly. One carried a skateboard under one arm and what looked like a rolled-up sleeping bag in the other.
Officers were met with profanity but no violence.
"This is what a police state looks like!" some of the protesters chanted.
Villaraigosa said the police action was "a measured approach to enforcing the park closure."


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