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New York police clearing protesters from Occupy Wall Street site

Demonstrators are ordered to leave New York's Zuccotti Park, but are told they can return later.

November 15, 2011|Times staff and wire reports
  • A protester pours liquid in the eyes of another protester who was pepper sprayed during a raid by New York City police.
A protester pours liquid in the eyes of another protester who was pepper… (Andrew Burton / Reuters )

Occupy Wall Street protesters were ordered early Tuesday to leave New York City's Zuccotti Park, their longtime encampment in Lower Manhattan, but were told they could return once it had been cleaned.

About 1 a.m., police handed out notices from the park's owner, Brookfield Office Properties, and the city saying the park had to be cleared because it had become unsanitary and hazardous, the Associated Press reported.

Rabbi Chaim Gruber, an Occupy Wall Street member, said police officers were clearing the streets near the park.

PHOTOS: Police clear out Zuccotti Park

"The police are forming a human shield and are pushing everyone away," he said.

Protesters were told they could return, but without sleeping bags, tarps or tents.

Paul Browne, a spokesman for the New York Police Department, said most people began filing out of the park once they received the notices; one person was arrested for disorderly conduct. Browne said the park was not heavily populated early Tuesday.

The Zuccotti Park protesters said hundreds of police were mobilizing around the park and that the eviction of the demonstrators was in progress.

The demonstrators' website urged people to "get to the park immediately for eviction defense."

Demonstrators shouted "We love our country" and "You don't have to do this."

Brookfield Office Properties and the city came close to removing the demonstrators on Oct. 14, but backed off.

The protesters have occupied the site since Sept. 17, sparking similar encampments in cities across the nation, including a tent city on the grounds of Los Angeles City Hall.

Some cities have taken a more aggressive posture in recent days. Riot police evicted demonstrators Sunday in Portland, Ore., while demonstrators have been arrested in Oakland; Albany, N.Y.; Salt Lake City; and Denver.

PHOTOS: Police clear out Zuccotti Park

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