* City says "Occupy Wall Street" camp unsafe, unsanitary
* Protest began two weeks ago in plaza near city hall
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 25 Police arrested at least
85 people and cleared a camp used by anti-Wall Street
protesters near the Oakland, California, city hall early on
Tuesday, a city spokeswoman said.
Those arrested faced charges for camping or assembling
without a permit in Frank Ogawa Plaza, the site of two weeks of
"Occupy Wall Street" protests, Oakland spokeswoman Karen Boyd
The plaza remained cordoned off at midday on Tuesday for
cleanup of debris, Boyd said. Once cleaned, it is expected to
be reopened and protesters will be free to use it for daytime
demonstrations, she said.
The city said it began to clear the plaza before dawn and
had "contained" the area in about an hour.
About 350 people were in the plaza when police began to
clear the area, Boyd said. Police deployed beanbags and sprayed
gas at protesters, she said. There were no reports of
The protest was the Oakland version of the movement
launched more than a month ago as Occupy Wall Street in New
The protesters are angry at government bailouts of big
banks, high unemployment, and economic inequality in the United
States. Demonstrations have spread across the nation and
overseas, although crowds remain relatively small in most
Oakland said in a statement it told protesters last
Thursday to cease overnight camping and cooking at the plaza.
"Over the last week it was apparent that neither the
demonstrators nor the city could maintain safe or sanitary
conditions, or control the ongoing vandalism," Oakland Mayor
Jean Quan said in a statement.
The city said conditions at the plaza had begun to
deteriorate by the second week of the protests with police,
fire and medical care reporting they were denied access to the
plaza to respond to service calls.
The city also said it had received reports of a sexual
assault and a severe beating, and that the lack of sanitation
had worsened a rodent problem in the plaza. Officials also said
the plaza was damaged by graffiti, litter and vandalism.
Hundreds of demonstrators have been arrested in New York
since the protests began. There have also been numerous arrests
in other cities.