More than 250 people are arrested in the eviction of the Occupy camps. U.S. authorities make an effort to avoid disturbing pictures.
Late at night on Wednesday, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced in a news conference in Los Angeles that he was “proud” of his police. In their evicting the Occupy L.A. camps in front of city hall a few hours earlier, they showed a “professionalism” and “restraint” that he had “never before seen” said the mayor.
More than 200 people were arrested in the nighttime police operation. A few hours earlier police likewise dressed in battle gear on the other coast of the U.S. evicted the Occupy Philadelphia camp. There the total was 50 arrests.
Deadlines for the local authorities to clear the occupied spaces had expired two days earlier in both cities. The police in Los Angeles had already moved in at dawn on Monday but had to withdraw without having achieved anything in the face of a superior number of nightly demonstrators.
On Wednesday night the police were stronger. 1,400 policemen came to the occupied square. Astonished observers counted a “ratio of one policeman per occupier.” At 3:40 a.m., when the occupied area at the intersection of 1st Street and Main Street in Los Angeles was firmly under police control, an occupier scornfully noted on Facebook: “The city has no money to repair its streets or maintain its homeless shelters. But when it comes to clearing an occupied square, they have access to all the money in the world.”
The authorities in both cities were concerned about avoiding renewed scenes of police violence. Most recently, a video was released in the middle of November showing a policeman at University of California, Davis spraying pepper spray from close range at demonstrators sitting on the ground with arms linked. As if they were vermin. A dozen victims had to subsequently receive medical treatment.
During the evictions, the occupations continue in other U.S. locations. The Occupy Movement in the U.S. capital, which has been encamped at two central places up to now, wants to open a third branch. They want to set up a tent in front of the Environmental Protection Agency to protest their laxity on clean air guidelines.