Beck Diefenbach, Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — More than 70 people were arrested during rallies involving hundreds of anti-Wall Street demonstrators in downtown Los Angeles as part of a nationwide day of action marking the two-month anniversary of the movement.
The Los Angeles rallies came just hours officers moved in to clear an encampment of Occupy protesters at the University of California, Berkeley.
The law enforcement actions marked the latest offensive against activists concerned about the nation's growing economic inequality.
An encampment in Oakland was shut down earlier this week and 33 people were arrested.
The first Los Angeles arrests came during a morning rush-hour march by about 400 people that was organized by labor unions and joined by members of the Occupy LA movement.
It culminated when a small group of people linked arms around three tents in the middle of busy Figueroa Street as others chanted "this is what democracy looks like" and other slogans from the sidewalk.
The first person taken into custody was 81-year-old Bertha Jordan.
"Young people got to see somebody stand up for justice," she said before being led away.
A total of 23 people were arrested for unlawful assembly in the highly choreographed act of civil disobedience. Many wore union T-shirts with the message "Arrest Wall Street bankers." They were being held on $500 bail each, said police Commander Andrew Smith.
Two other protesters who were not union-affiliated were arrested earlier during the demonstration.
Around noon, several hundred activists marched for a second time.
The action resulted in a tense standoff between marchers and riot-clad police when activists would not heed orders to stay on the sidewalk.
Three people were arrested before marchers agreed to peacefully resume their march to the Bank of America Plaza, where protesters pitched 20 tents on a grassy area as helmeted officers guarded the bank skyscraper and formed lines in a stalemate that continued for almost four hours.
Protesters contended the park area was not private property and the public was guaranteed around-the-clock access. Police finally moved in to arrest 47 people who locked arms in a circle and refused to leave the property as a crowd heckled police and chanted slogans.
Smith said the activists were charged with trespassing.
Also on Thursday, representatives from Occupy LA sought a temporary restraining order to prevent police from dismantling their encampment around City Hall without notice, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Chief Deputy City Atty. William Carter told the Times the protesters said they have the right to notice because a City Council resolution supports the demonstration as long as it remains "peaceful."
The motion was scheduled to be heard in Superior Court Friday.
In Berkeley, about 150 police officers and deputies in riot gear moved in on the encampment around 3:30 a.m. without warning, removing about 20 tents and arresting two protesters.
A bulldozer smashed a wooden teepee-like structure, and a large sign that read "Open University, All are Welcome" was taken down.
Campus police had monitored the camp, awaiting the best time to move in, said Dan Mogulof, a university spokesman.
"The decision was made to avoid confrontation," he said. "To do it safely was paramount for us."
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