Encampments of protestors in New York and Oakland, both part of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, were raided by police Monday and cleared of demonstrators, tents and garbage. Officials in both cities said the camps posed health and safety concerns for the protestors and nearby residents.
Police cleared the Occupy Wall Street camp in Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, birthplace of the Occupy movement, Monday. About 180 to 190 demonstrators in the park were arrested, according to The New York Times.
At a news conference Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the park needed to be cleared because “health and safety concerns had become intolerable.” Protestors have been camped out in the park for two months. The mayor said the protestors were welcome to return to the park after it had been cleaned, but they could no longer camp out.
The park reopened Tuesday morning and about 50 protestors had returned to the park before police closed it a second time because of a temporary restraining order pending a hearing later in the day.
The Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York inspired similar protests in cities across the nation and internationally, including in Oakland, the scene of another raid Monday.
The police raid in Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza was peaceful with few arrests, unlike a similar raid on Oct. 25 that culminated with police in riot gear firing tear gas and rubber bullets at protestors. According to the San Jose Mercury News, the raid yesterday was publicized in advance and many protestors voluntarily left the park ahead of the 5 a.m. deadline.
By midafternoon, according to The Mercury News, protestors had erected 40 tents and a kitchen area at nearby Snow Park.
In a move similar to New York, Interim Oakland police Chief Howard Jordan said protestors were welcome to return peacefully to the plaza but could not remain overnight.
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