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Police Arrest 200 Occupy L.A. Protesters & Clear Out Encampment

"It's easy to talk the talk, but you gotta walk the walk."

LOS ANGELES (The Blaze/AP) -- Dozens of officers in riot gear flooded down the steps of Los Angeles City Hall just after midnight and started dismantling the two-month-old camp two days after a deadline passed for campers to leave the park.

Officers in helmets and wielding batons and guns with rubber bullets converged on the park from all directions with military precision and began making arrests after several orders were given to leave. Defiant Los Angeles campers who were chanting slogans as the officers surrounded the park, booed when an unlawful assembly was declared. Police say more than 200 people were detained during the massive raid.

(caution: language warning)

In the first moments of the raid, officers tore down a tent and tackled a tattooed man with a camera on City Hall steps and wrestled him to the ground. Someone yelled "police brutality."

Below, see one woman sob as her boyfriend is arrested by authorities:

Teams of four or five officers moved through the crowd making arrests one at a time, cuffing the hands of protesters with white plastic zip-ties. A circle of protesters sat with arms locked, many looking calm and smiling.

Opamago Cascini, 29, said the night had been a blast and he was willing to get arrested. "It's easy to talk the talk, but you gotta walk the walk," Cascini said.

Police used a cherry picker to pluck five men from trees. Two others were in a tree house - one wore a crown and another taunted police with an American flag. Below, see footage of what may be the very tree house that police had to contend with:

About 1,200 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."

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.

Some were smoking pot, some were carrying gas masks, others wore hoodies and had bandanas around their faces. Some protesters carried lit candles and held signs saying "Defend Occupy LA."

Police Chief Charlie Beck said at an early Wednesday news conference that the arrests were mainly peaceful and there were no injuries. Beck says an initial search of the camp turned up no drugs or weapons.

More than 1,000 police officers raided the camp and dismantled what was left of the tent city that stood for two months.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa raised public safety and health concerns in announcing plans for the eviction last week.

 

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