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200+ arrested at Occupy Los Angeles, 50 in Philly

By Kathy Matheson

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 30 2011 6:51 a.m. MST

In Philadelphia, police began pulling down tents at about 1:20 a.m. EST after giving demonstrators three warnings that they would have to leave, which nearly all of the protesters followed. Dozens of demonstrators then began marching through the streets and continued through the night.

Ramsey said breaking up the camp in the early-morning hours helped minimize any disruption to businesses and traffic.

"We acknowledge the fact that we are going to have to leave this space .... but in another sense this has been our home for almost two months and no one wants to see their home taken away from them," Philadelphia protester Bri Barton, 22, said before police began clearing out the camp.

"Whether or not we have this space or work in the city is nowhere near done," she said.

The eviction overall appeared to have been carried out without any significant scuffles or violence.

Later Wednesday morning, workers used front-end loaders to scoop up tents, trash and other debris and dump it into trucks to be hauled away, while others swept the plaza clean.

Demonstrators and city officials in both Los Angeles and Philadelphia were hoping any confrontation would be nonviolent, unlike evictions at similar camps around the country that sometimes involved pepper spray and tear gas. The movement against economic disparity and perceived corporate greed began with Occupy Wall Street in Manhattan two months ago.

The Los Angeles officers staged for hours outside Dodger Stadium before the raid. They were warned that demonstrators might throw everything from concrete and gravel to human feces at them.

"Please put your face masks down and watch each other's back," a supervisor told them. "Now go to work."

The officers came from a wide range of specialized units within the force, including the bomb squad, and the arson unit. Scores of officers in hazmat suits also were sent in to deal with potentially unsanitary conditions in the park.

Before police arrived in large numbers, protesters were upbeat and the mood was almost festive. A protester in a Santa Claus hat danced in the street. A woman showed off the reindeer antlers she had mounted on her gas mask.

Matheson reported from Philadelphia. Associated Press writer Shaya Tayefe Mohajer in Los Angeles also contributed to this report.

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