|Page (1) of 1 - 12/07/11||email article||print page|
Dozens arrested as police clear Occupy camp in San Francisco and dismantle 100-plus tents
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ' Police in San Francisco cleared the Occupy SF protest site at a downtown plaza early Wednesday, taking down more than 100 tents and making dozens of arrests as they dismantled the nearly two-month-old site.
Dozens of police cars, fire engines and ambulances surrounded the campsite at Justin Herman Plaza and blocked off the area during the raid that began around 2 a.m., KCBS radio reported.
Police spokespersons could not immediately be reached to provide an official arrest count, but Police Chief Greg Suhr told KCBS that officers dismantled more than 100 tents.
Gene Doherty, 47, an Occupy protester who was not at the site during the raid but watched it on a live streaming website, estimated that at least 40 people were taken into custody.
"They gave us about a five-minute notice to vacate the plaza and then came through and started tearing down the tents and putting them into trash compactor trucks," he said.
Radio reports said at least 50 protesters were arrested, and they could be heard chanting as they were taken away on a bus.
KCBS reported that one officer was hit with a chair in the face while wearing his face shield, which cracked. The officer escaped injury, however.
Police remained at the site after protesters briefly blocked a major thoroughfare near the site. Work crews were busy clearing debris form the tent city, which was set up in mid-October.
Doherty said the Occupy protesters planned a noon rally at the site and still had several "mobile occupations" throughout the city.
"We will come back and reoccupy," Doherty said. "A large segment of our community has no other options. They don't have a home to go back to; this was their home."
Protesters will continue to "send a message that this is our right to protest, our right to assemble, and to talk about the economic injustices in the world," he said.