At about 01:20 am local time, New York police moved in to clear protesters from Liberty Square) Zuccotti Park, which they have occupied for several weeks now.
This comes on the heels of police with semi automatic weapons removing squatters in Chapel Hill, North Carolina over the week-end. "Images from the raid has riled many in the traditionally liberal town. Some showed police pointing guns at protesters and pinning them on the ground." Reports CNN.
It also seems that the Zuccotti Park police action came shortly after OWS organisers said on their web-site that they intended to "shut down Wall Street" on Thursday. The OWS web-site (occupywallst.org/) is now adorned with:
OCCUPY WALL STREET IS BEING RAIDED
ALL HANDS ON DECK!
The police move in Zuccotti Park came as a surprise to many protesters. It was done, says the police, in order that the park can be cleared and restored then the protesters can return.
The Mayor's office Tweeted out at 01:34 am: "Occupants of Zuccotti should temporarily leave and remove tents and tarps. Protestors can return after the Park is cleared."
The OWS protesters were ordered by the police to clear the area or face arrest. By 2am it was reported that most had left leaving a core of them in the centre.
"Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park), home of Occupy Wall Street for the past two months and birthplace of the 99% movement that has spread across the country and around the world, is presently being evicted by a large police force," stated the demonstrators in a release.
The protesters chanted "Whose park? Our park!" as the police moved in and began, according to the New York Times' 'tearing' tents down.
The OWS response: WE WILL REOCCUPY!