Protesters Evicted While New York Park Is Cleaned

Police temporarily cleared Zuccotti Park early Tuesday so that sanitation crews could clean the site Occupy Wall Street protesters have inhabited for two months. About 70 protesters were arrested including some who chained themselves together.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. We're tracking events this morning in New York City, where the Occupy protests began. Early today, hundreds of police in riot gear moved into a camp near Wall Street. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the operation to clear Zuccotti Park took place at night to, quote, reduce the risk of confrontation.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: (Shouting) Back up! Back up!

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: Shame on you! Shame on you!

MONTAGNE: But as you can hear, clashes erupted and about 70 people were arrested. That scene was recorded by protester John Knefel.

JOHN KNEFEL: I saw two women who were on the sidewalk get arrested very violently. And I was also hit on the leg with a baton, and then pepper-sprayed.

MONTAGNE: WYNC's Karen Frillmann reports that the scene is now calm at Zuccotti Park.

KAREN FRILLMANN, BYLINE: Wall Street is open; Broadway is open; people are streaming into work. The park has been completely power-washed. It is empty.

INSKEEP: And freelance reporter Julie Walker says protesters have moved on, to nearby Foley Square.

JULIE WALKER: They're waving an American flag; they're playing the drums. The movement has moved on. But they're telling me that they're not going to give up, and that they want to go back to Zuccotti Park. And they're actual citing things that have happened in Oakland.

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