Hundreds of police officers in riot gear evicted dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters early Tuesday from the park that has become the epicenter of the worldwide movement protesting corporate greed.
About 70 people were arrested, including some who chained themselves together, while officers cleared Zuccotti Park so that sanitation crews could clean it.
Police in riot gear filled the streets, car lights flashing and sirens blaring. Protesters, some of whom shouted angrily at police, began marching to two locations in Lower Manhattan where they planned to hold rallies.
Protesters at the two-month-old encampment were told they could come back after the cleaning, but under new tougher rules, including no tents, sleeping bags or tarps, which would effectively put an end to the encampment if enforced.
Update: There’s actually been over 200 arrests. While they began to allow protestors back into the park this morning, after a New York judge issued a temporary order asking Mayor Bloomberg to “show cause” for eviction, he confusingly ordered them to be re-evicted. In the meantime at a press conference, he stated that first amendment protects speech, not the use of tents (in other words, the ability to occupy). After the eviction, Bloomberg admitted there was no evidence of harmful waste, as folks apparently reported.
In the meantime, no press are currently allowed in the park for their “protection.” You can check out updates on what’s happening here.