As we noted here, that while the Democrats initially liked the Occupy protests, seeing them as a 2011 counter to 2010’s TEA Party protests, the Occupiers were nothing like the TEA Partiers, and they were starting to get on even the Democrats’ nerves.
Philadelphia and Mayor Michael Nutter had tried hard to accommodate the Occupy Philadelphia protest and its “campground” on Dilworth Plaza, but it was obvious that the city was becoming increasingly frustrated with the protesters. There was no real leadership voice, and no one who could bargain in good faith for the protesters’ side. On Monday, the city cut off the electricity it had been supplying to the occupiers, and last night, the Philadelphia Police used force to evict the protesters.
Police clear Occupy encampment, arrest 40 protesters
By Miriam Hill, Melissa Dribben, and Troy Graham, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writers
Police swarmed around City Hall overnight and rousted Occupy Philadelphia protesters from their encampment more than two days after a deadline passed for them to leave.
The occupiers responded by roaming around Center City, scattering and regrouping with police following their every move in a chaotic night of cat-and-mouse that apparently ended before daylight.
The attempt to disperse the occupiers began about 1 a.m. – 56 hours after the city-imposed deadline to leave came and went.
On North 15th Street behind the Inquirer and School District Buildings, police arrested about 40 protesters before pushing them back toward Center City just after 5 a.m.
“We followed them around Center City all night long and finally arrested some of them,” Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said.
A short time later, OccupyPhilly reported on Twitter that protesters “who weren’t arrested or hospitalized have regrouped at the Friends Center” at North 15th and Cherry Streets. At least one protester was injured by a police horse, but not seriously.
At least two police officers reportedly suffered minor injuries.
More at the link.
The city was not exactly gentle to the protesters’ camp: Your editor was watching WPVI-TV, ABC’s owned and operated station in Philadelphia, and the video showed the city clearing out the protesters’ camp on Dilworth Plaza with front end loaders. If someone had a nice tent or an expensive sleeping bag or a high-dollar laptop sitting there, his possessions are gone, scooped up with a loader and dumped into a garbage truck.¹
When New York City forcibly removed the Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park — which is private property, not public like Dilworth Plaza — the protesters complained that 3,000 books were destroyed. The Wall Street Journal reported on the complains by a group of lawyers, librarians and activists “that thousands of books that had been stored in a “people’s library” at the Occupy Wall Street encampment were lost or destroyed when police officers raided and cleared the plaza.”
As police swept out the protesters in the dead of night on Nov. 15, sanitation workers moved in, hastily tossing sleeping bags, tents, computers and bongo drums into trucks, leaving the privately-owned plaza pristine and power-washed by dawn.
City officials say 26 truckloads of items were removed from the park, including the books, and that all were taken to a city sanitation garage, where owners may retrieve their belongings over the next few weeks.
Your editor would surmise, from the video on WPVI this morning, that the personal property of the Occupy protesters was similarly treated, though whether the protesters can go and sift through the garbage for items not destroyed is unknown.
¹ – Your editor is a loader operator himself, and he can tell you that you don’t pick up things gently with a loader. The operator cannot see through the bucket, but only judges where things are from what he saw before he put the bucket down to scoop them up, and what falls out the sides of the bucket.