New York police evict anti-Wall Street protesters

NEW YORK, (Reuters) – New York police evicted Occupy  Wall Street protesters from a park in the city’s financial  district early today, two months after they set up camp  and sparked a national movement against economic inequality.
Wearing helmets and carrying shields and batons, hundreds  of police dismantled the sea of tents, tarps and protests signs  at Zuccotti Park, arresting 147 people, including about a dozen  who had chained themselves to each other and to trees.
As confused and angry protesters tried to work out how to  regroup, sanitation workers labored through the night to clear  away mounds of trash from the privately owned, publicly  accessible park, where hundreds of people had camped, then  swept and mopped the granite space.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the park owners,  commercial real estate corporation Brookfield Office  Properties, had decided that the protesters had become a health  and fire safety hazard to themselves and the local community.
“Protesters have had two months to occupy the park with  tents and sleeping bags. Now they will have to occupy the space  with the power of their arguments,” Bloomberg said in a  statement, adding that the situation had become “intolerable.”
Parts of the park had developed a stench of urine and  excrement, flower beds had been trampled, and authorities and  protesters said there had been reports of sexual assaults,  thefts and drug dealing.
The Occupy Wall Street movement, which began when  protesters set up camp in Zuccotti Park on Sept. 17, inspired  solidarity rallies and so-called occupations in public spaces  across the United States and in cities elsewhere in the world.
In London, city authorities said today they were  resuming legal action to try to shift anti-capitalism  protesters who have set up camp at St Paul’s Cathedral.
The New York eviction followed similar action in Atlanta,  Portland and Salt Lake City, but unlike action in Oakland,  California — where police used tear gas and stun grenades —  New York police said most protesters left peacefully.
The cleaning of the park came ahead of plans by protesters  to try and shut down Wall Street on Thursday — home to the New  York Stock Exchange — by holding a street carnival to mark the  two-month anniversary of their campaign.
Several hundred evicted protesters regrouped at a nearby  square and proceeded at mid-morning Tuesday to march through  lower Manhattan streets before rallying in another park.
“Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park) was a metaphor and this is  way bigger than that,” said Kyle Depew, 26, a waiter from  Williamsburg. “The seed’s been planted in everyone’s mind and  that’s what this is about.”
The New York park had been due to reopen on Tuesday morning  and the protesters were to be allowed to return as long as they  stuck to new park rules — designed to prevent them from  setting up a camp again — that included a ban on sleeping  bags, tents and the storage of belongings in the space.
But court documents obtained by Reuters showed that New  York State Supreme Court Justice Lucy Billings issued a  temporary restraining order on the new park rules early on  Tuesday, and until a hearing was held later in the day,  authorities were not allowed to evict protesters from the park  and could not enforce the rules.

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