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Oakland cops clear out Occupy camp in riot gear

Updated at 3:39 p.m. ET

OAKLAND, Calif. - Riot-clad law enforcement officers cleared out Oakland's weeks-old anti-Wall Street encampment early Monday, arresting Occupy demonstrators and removing tents from a downtown plaza after issuing several warnings over the weekend.

Protesters appeared to put up little resistance, and officers could be seen calmly leading some demonstrators away in plastic handcuffs. Warnings from authorities had been similar to those issued before officers used tear gas and bean bag projectiles to clear the encampment on Oct. 25.

Officers made 32 arrests during Monday's raid, Police Chief Howard Jordan said, adding that there were no reports of injuries to officers or protesters.

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After officers blocked off the streets surrounding Frank Ogawa Plaza, some demonstrators gathered near the barricades and vowed to return. By 9 a.m., however, most of the demonstrators had left the area.

"Where we go from there is up to timing and chance," said Shon Kae, who's on Occupy Oakland's media committee. "We just do what seems right at the time, and we'll roll with the punches.

"There is no secret plan. We all have to just keep on with the struggle," he said.

The action came a day after police drove hundreds of anti-Wall Street demonstrators from weeks-old encampments in Portland, arresting more than 50 people.

Oakland officials stepped up calls for an end to their city's encampment after a man was shot and killed Thursday near the plaza. Police issued a fourth cease and desist order Sunday night telling demonstrators they couldn't camp there.

Mayor Jean Quan had allowed protesters to reclaim the disbanded site after facing criticism following the Oct. 25 raid.

In his first statement since being hit in the head and seriously injured in the raid, Marine Corps veteran Scott Olsen said Monday he was feeling a lot better but still had a lot of work to do in rehab.

Olsen's plight has become a rallying cry for the Occupy Wall Street movement, with shrines set up in his honor throughout the nation.

The 24-year-old posted a statement on his Google+ account, which was verified by his roommate Keith Shannon.

"You'll be hearing more from me in the near future and soon enough we'll see you in our streets!" he wrote.

The camp grew substantially after the Oct. 25 raid, although city officials said Sunday the number of tents had dropped by about 30 to 150 since Nov. 8.

"We came to this point because Occupy Oakland, I think, began to take a different path than the original movement," Quan said. "We had to bring the camp to an end before more people got hurt."

Not everyone in Quan's camp agreed. Dan Siegel, one of the mayor's top legal advisers, resigned over the decision to raid the anti-Wall Street protest encampment on Monday.

Siegel, a civil rights attorney and longtime friend of Quan, worked as an unpaid adviser. He has been a vocal critic of Oakland police and also had opposed the Oct. 25 raid.

Protesters would be allowed to return to the plaza after the tents were cleared out, but they wouldn't be allowed to spend the night, officials said.

Officials across the country have been urging an end to similar gatherings in the wake of three deaths in different cities, including two deaths by gunfire.

Demands for Oakland protesters to pack up increased after a man was shot and killed Thursday near the encampment site.

Protesters had said there was no connection between the shooting and the camp. But police identified the slain man as 25-year-old Kayode Ola Foster of Oakland, saying his family confirmed he had been staying at the plaza.

Police officer Johnna Watson said witnesses have told police that one of two suspects in the shooting had also been a frequent resident at the plaza. The suspects' names haven't been released.

Investigators suspect that the shooting resulted from a fight between two groups of men.

In the hours after the midnight Saturday eviction deadline in Portland, protesters flooded the park area. At one point, the crowd swelled to thousands. As dawn arrived, riot police had retreated and most of the crowds had gone home, but protesters who have been at the two parks since Oct. 6 were still there.

Police moved in later. An officer on a loudspeaker warned that anyone who resisted risked arrest and "may also be subject to chemical agents and impact weapons." Demonstrators chanted "we are a peaceful protest."

"We were talking about what we were going to do and then they just started hitting people. Seems like a waste of resources to me," protester Mike Swain, 27, said.

One man was taken away on a stretcher; he was alert and talking to paramedics, and raised a peace sign to fellow protesters, who responded with cheers.

City officials erected temporary chain-link fences with barbed wire at the top around three adjacent downtown parks, choking off access for demonstrators as parks officials cleaned up.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams defended his order to clear the park, saying it is his job to enforce the law and keep the peace.

Officials said one officer suffered minor injuries.

In other cities over the weekend:

  • In Salt Lake City, police arrested 19 people Saturday when protesters refused to leave a park a day after a man as found dead inside his tent at the encampment.
  • In Albany, N.Y., police arrested 24 Occupy Albany protesters after they defied an 11 p.m. curfew in a state-owned park.
  • In Denver, authorities arrested four people as they forced protesters to leave a downtown encampment.
  • In San Francisco, police said two demonstrators attacked two police officers in separate incidents during a march, leaving them with minor injuries. The assailants couldn't be located.
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