Friday, October 28, 2011

Police In Riot Gear Remove 'Occupy SD' Protesters

Police in riot gear cleared Occupy San Diego protesters out of Civic Center Plaza early Friday, making some arrests in the process, a police officer said.

The operation began about 2 a.m. after officials declared the three-week- old event an unlawful assembly, said San Diego police Officer David Stafford. It lasted about 45 minutes, and there were no immediate reports of injuries.

Protesters plan to reassemble at 8:45 a.m. for a solidarity march from Civic Center Plaza to the Wells Fargo Building downtown.

During the plaza-clearance sweep, some protesters scattered around downtown San Diego while others were arrested, Stafford said without saying how many.

The operation was carried out by some 20 police officers assisted by a score of San Diego County sheriff's deputies, also in riot gear, witnesses said. They reported seeing about a half-dozen protesters being arrested for refusing to leave.

Protesters first converged on Civic Center Plaza on Oct. 7, decrying the conduct of banks, corporations and politicians. The Occupy movement began in New York last month and has since spread nationwide.
Before Friday, the local protest had been largely confrontation-free, with the exception of Oct. 14, when two protesters were arrested for allegedly delaying police officers. On Oct. 14, protesters were ordered to take down makeshift camp sites that they had erected.

Police officers eventually removed all tents and other large items from the plaza but told protesters they were free to remain -- though without the paraphernalia. Earlier this week, protesters brought tents back to the plaza.
Protesters have vowed to remain in the downtown area until their demands are met or at least sincerely considered. Those demands include ending joblessness, poverty and political corruption.

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