- (Photo: Reuters/David McNew)
Two weeks after the pre-dawn raid of Occupy Wall Street, police have dismantled two more encampments. Occupy Los Angeles and Occupy Philadelphia were raided early this morning, leading to the arrest of 200 protesters.
Police took to the streets early this morning with the order of dismantling camps set up by protesters in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. In contrast to the destruction of Occupy Wall Street, there have been no reports of violence or protest in response to the police raid.
“The Los Angeles Police Department has demonstrated a willingness to respect the civil right of protesters. We call on them to continue to demonstrate that restraint and respect,” said one protester.
Demonstrators in Los Angeles were given multiple warnings that the camp would be taken down and that they were required to leave. Some chose to heed the warning, but many stayed. Police said that there were some who had to be arrested after failing to comply with orders.
“We have taken a measured approach to enforcing the park closure because we have wanted to give people every opportunity to leave peacefully. I ask that anyone who remains in the park to please leave voluntarily,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
The primary reason for the dispersal was the condition of the park. Villaraigosa noted that there were sanitation concerns as well as quality-of-life for those who have been living in the park. He assured protesters that they would be able to return.
“Once the park is cleared, it will be repaired and returned to all Angelenos to exercise their First Amendment rights.”
These peaceful raids come after a series of violent raids in which protesters have been pepper-sprayed and/or shot at with rubber bullets. The Occupy movement began in New York Sept. 17, with a group of people gathering near Wall Street.
According to its website, the Occupy movement “has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally.”