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Occupy Protesters Evicted in Two Cities

Thursday, 01 December 2011 05:39 By Adam Nagourney, New York Times News Service | Report

Los Angeles - The steel-mesh fence went up around the perimeter of City Hall Park here early Wednesday morning. Behind it, fields of dirt and brown grass were covered with the detritus of what had been one of the largest Occupy encampments in the country: tarps, tents, discarded bottles, coolers, protest signs, a torn-up dollar bill, a California driver’s license and a beat-up acoustic guitar.

Just after midnight, 1,400 members of the Los Angeles Police Department had massed on the park, announcing that it was closed and — after giving demonstrators three 10-minute warnings to leave peacefully — moved in. Most people left, but nearly 300 people were arrested, mostly on charges of failing to disperse, in what proved to be one of the smoothest and least disruptive endings of an Occupy demonstration in any major city in the country.

There were no serious injuries and just a handful of reported clashes, in what officials here were quick to hail as an affirmation of their go-slow policy in trying to deal with the demonstrators.

“A peaceful and orderly conclusion to that encampment at City Hall,” is the way Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa put it.

The clearing of the Los Angeles protest came a few hours after the police in Philadelphia raided that city’s encampment at Dilworth Plaza, adjacent to City Hall — more than two days after a city-imposed deadline for the protesters to yield the land they had held for two months. At least 50 people were arrested and three officers sustained minor injuries.

The near-simultaneous action against two of the larger Occupy protests, after protests in places like New York, Oakland, Detroit and St. Louis were shut down, was the latest evidence that the nationwide movement — or, at least, the encampment portion of it — may be slowly coming to an end.

But it is hardly over: Occupy encampments continue from San Francisco to Boston, and in cities like Des Moines; Kansas City, Mo.; Lansing, Mich.; Lincoln, Neb.; Madison, Wis.; Portland, Me.; and Providence, R.I.

In Phoenix on Wednesday, police officers clad in riot gear twice used pepper spray to disperse protesters gathered outside an upscale resort. The Occupy Phoenix protesters moved from the downtown park where they had been camping for weeks to the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa, where an annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council brought together lawmakers and corporate executives.

As of midday, seven protesters had been arrested outside the hotel on charges ranging from criminal trespass to aggravated assault on an officer.

Sgt. Trent Crump, a police spokesman, said a small group of “anarchists” dressed in black had charged police lines, prompting the use of pepper spray.

“The pepper spray is very effective in dispersing those who are being aggressive and that is what happened here,” Sergeant Crump said.

By contrast, the Los Angeles mayor and the police chief, Charles Beck, held a near-celebratory news conference at Mr. Villaraigosa’s office as crews outside — including workers in white hazmat suits, in response to what officials said was considerable danger of biological infection — cleaned up the wreckage across City Hall Park.

Hundreds of police officers were stationed near the fences, but there was no sign of demonstrators trying to return.

Mr. Villaraigosa said he expected that the cost of the protest — in cleanup, police overtime and lawn replacement — could exceed $1 million.

“Yes, the answer is we’re all going to pay for it in these tough economic times,” the mayor said. “Because we were peaceful here, we were able to keep our costs down, especially compared with other cites.”

 

Reporting was contributed by Jennifer Medina and Ian Lovett from Los Angeles, Marc Lacey from Phoenix, Brian Stelter from Philadelphia, Jess Bidgood from Boston, Steven Yaccino from Chicago and Timothy Williams from New York.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: November 30, 2011

An earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of one of the protesters in Los Angeles. It is Richard Finefrock, not Finefrocl.


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Occupy Protesters Evicted in Two Cities

Thursday, 01 December 2011 05:39 By Adam Nagourney, New York Times News Service | Report

Los Angeles - The steel-mesh fence went up around the perimeter of City Hall Park here early Wednesday morning. Behind it, fields of dirt and brown grass were covered with the detritus of what had been one of the largest Occupy encampments in the country: tarps, tents, discarded bottles, coolers, protest signs, a torn-up dollar bill, a California driver’s license and a beat-up acoustic guitar.

Just after midnight, 1,400 members of the Los Angeles Police Department had massed on the park, announcing that it was closed and — after giving demonstrators three 10-minute warnings to leave peacefully — moved in. Most people left, but nearly 300 people were arrested, mostly on charges of failing to disperse, in what proved to be one of the smoothest and least disruptive endings of an Occupy demonstration in any major city in the country.

There were no serious injuries and just a handful of reported clashes, in what officials here were quick to hail as an affirmation of their go-slow policy in trying to deal with the demonstrators.

“A peaceful and orderly conclusion to that encampment at City Hall,” is the way Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa put it.

The clearing of the Los Angeles protest came a few hours after the police in Philadelphia raided that city’s encampment at Dilworth Plaza, adjacent to City Hall — more than two days after a city-imposed deadline for the protesters to yield the land they had held for two months. At least 50 people were arrested and three officers sustained minor injuries.

The near-simultaneous action against two of the larger Occupy protests, after protests in places like New York, Oakland, Detroit and St. Louis were shut down, was the latest evidence that the nationwide movement — or, at least, the encampment portion of it — may be slowly coming to an end.

But it is hardly over: Occupy encampments continue from San Francisco to Boston, and in cities like Des Moines; Kansas City, Mo.; Lansing, Mich.; Lincoln, Neb.; Madison, Wis.; Portland, Me.; and Providence, R.I.

In Phoenix on Wednesday, police officers clad in riot gear twice used pepper spray to disperse protesters gathered outside an upscale resort. The Occupy Phoenix protesters moved from the downtown park where they had been camping for weeks to the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa, where an annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council brought together lawmakers and corporate executives.

As of midday, seven protesters had been arrested outside the hotel on charges ranging from criminal trespass to aggravated assault on an officer.

Sgt. Trent Crump, a police spokesman, said a small group of “anarchists” dressed in black had charged police lines, prompting the use of pepper spray.

“The pepper spray is very effective in dispersing those who are being aggressive and that is what happened here,” Sergeant Crump said.

By contrast, the Los Angeles mayor and the police chief, Charles Beck, held a near-celebratory news conference at Mr. Villaraigosa’s office as crews outside — including workers in white hazmat suits, in response to what officials said was considerable danger of biological infection — cleaned up the wreckage across City Hall Park.

Hundreds of police officers were stationed near the fences, but there was no sign of demonstrators trying to return.

Mr. Villaraigosa said he expected that the cost of the protest — in cleanup, police overtime and lawn replacement — could exceed $1 million.

“Yes, the answer is we’re all going to pay for it in these tough economic times,” the mayor said. “Because we were peaceful here, we were able to keep our costs down, especially compared with other cites.”

 

Reporting was contributed by Jennifer Medina and Ian Lovett from Los Angeles, Marc Lacey from Phoenix, Brian Stelter from Philadelphia, Jess Bidgood from Boston, Steven Yaccino from Chicago and Timothy Williams from New York.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: November 30, 2011

An earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of one of the protesters in Los Angeles. It is Richard Finefrock, not Finefrocl.


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