Police clear Occupy Toronto with few detentions

Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:15pm EST
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By Allison Martell

TORONTO (Reuters) - City workers dismantled tents and cleared debris from a downtown park on Wednesday as part of a restrained, daylong operation by police to peacefully end a five-week encampment by Occupy Toronto protesters.

Backed by a court order, police arrived at dawn at St. James Park, a few blocks from the city's financial district, and workers began taking down unoccupied structures and cleaning up the site.

Many of the protesters who had camped in the park had already vacated the site, but most of those remaining let the dismantling proceed without interfering. A few screamed at the police or strummed guitars and sang protest songs. Others dug in for an expected stand-off and forcible removal.

By late afternoon, the eviction was still mostly peaceful though a handful of holdouts remained inside tents.

"I am very, very pleased with the progress of the operation so far. It has been orderly, and largely peaceful," Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said at a late afternoon press conference.

"I'd like to note that members of Occupy Toronto have been largely peaceful in their protest, and remain so today," he said.

Police moved in to end the encampment after a court upheld a city eviction order on Monday.

The Toronto action mirrors police operations across North America to clear public spaces from protesters inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement against social and financial inequality.   Continued...