Occupy Philadelphia has been cleared out of Dilworth Plaza next to City Hall. The eviction came more than two days after a city-imposed deadline for getting protesters to leave.
Civil Affairs Captain William Fisher read out the warnings shortly after 1 a.m., telling protesters they would be arrested if they refused to leave. The protesters split into two groups, one staying near City Hall, the other taking police on a two hour march through much of Center City. Eventually about 50 protesters were arrested.
Gwen Snyder of Occupy says even though they have been evicted their fight isn't over. "We'll continue to fight for economic justice in this country and this world and we will continue to do it whatever happens, that's what we've said and that's what we will continue to say," said Snyder.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey was pleased with his officers and how they handled the protesters. "We work with people the best we can but sometimes people cross the line and wind up getting arrested," said Ramsey.
Sanitation and fire department workers joined together to clean up the plaza and power wash it with fire hoses to prepare for the $50 million renovation of Dilworth Plaza.
UPDATE 8 a.m.:
The Associated Press reports that near 50 protesters have now been arrested.
More than 40 Occupy Philadelphia protesters were arrested overnight outside City Hall as police moved in to enforce the eviction notice given last week.
After reading warnings starting at 1 a.m., officers moved in to arrest people who would not leave Dilworth Plaza. Four men and two women were taken into custody about 3 a.m. The city wants the protesters out so a long-planned $50 million dollar renovation can move forward.
As officers moved in to make arrests, many Occupy protesters left and starting marching through the streets. About 5 a.m. police arrested about 40 more people near 15th and Hamilton Streets. Police still did not have exact arrest numbers.
A splinter group of Occupy Philadelphia has taken out a permit for daytime protests at Paine Plaza, across the street from the original location. But many members did not want to move to the new location since the permit bars them from camping overnight. They say without a 24 hour presence the "occupy" part of the movement would be lost.