Police evicted the Occupy Salt Lake City protesters who had made Utah’s Pioneer Park their campsite, arresting 19 people Saturday who refused to comply.
Despite the arrests, the protesters’ removal was peaceful and no incidents of violence were reported, and city sanitation crews arrived to clear debris from the park — with a bulldozer.
Protesters were ordered to vacate after a man was found dead in his tent at the encampment Friday, apparently due to carbon monoxide poisoning and a drug overdose.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported:
About 5:30 p.m., a massive fleet of police vehicles arrived at the south end of the park, carrying more than 70 officers from the city as well as from the county’s Unified Police Department. About an hour later, as an officer addressed the crowd through a bullhorn, other officers waving flashlights began shaking down tents, which looked like deflating balloons.
Police directed campers to gather their belongings while offering to help protesters find places to stay overnight. Officers first swept the east side of the park, as protesters gathered around them, and by 5:47 p.m., police began clearing tents on the west side.
Sanitation workers then moved in with a front-end loader and two dump trucks to clear debris from the campsite locations.
“This is what a police state looks like,” said protester Drew Baker, 21, who led others in a chant.
According to the Tribune, three of the group’s main organizers were arrested around 7 p.m. when they attempted to re-erect a tent in an area that had already been cleared.
Protesters will be permitted to demonstrate in the park during the daytime but no camping will be allowed.
Editor’s note: The equipment used to disassemble the camp has been widely referred to as a bulldozer, though as some observant readers have pointed out, it is a front-end loader. (H/t Blaze reader Dennis.)