by: Rebel - Havertown, PA started: 11/30/11 7:15 am | updated: 11/30/11 7:15 am
"The Dilworth occupation is over," Mayor Nutter said at a news conference just before 7 a.m Wednesday.
Police swarmed around City Hall and rousted Occupy Philadelphia protesters from their encampment overnight, 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.
Mayor Nutter called the police operation to clear the plaza "tremendously well planned and executed."
He said at least 50 people were arrested, 44 of them in a 5 a.m. face off on North 15th Street behind the Inquirer and School District buildings.
Crews were using bulldozers and other heavy equipment to clear up debris and fire hoses to wash down the plaza as Mayor Nutter spoke.
Nutter said three police officers suffered minor injuries, two while making arrests and one while taking down a tent on the plaza. He said a female protester was hurt when a police horse stomped on her foot.
The attempt to disperse the occupiers began about 1 a.m. - 56 hours after the city-imposed deadline form them to leave Dilworth Plaza came and went.
Nutter said the plaza was cleared by 2 a.m.
"There were no fights . . . no confrontations no incidents on the plaza," he said.
Tensions rose through the night, beginning when police moved to evacuate the Occupy encampment. Police gave protesters at least three warnings that they had to leave the plaza.
After the third warning, 15 protesters locked arms and started walking south on 15th Street.
Thus began a four-hour trek from Dilworth Plaza to Rittenhouse Square and then snaking east of City Hall before turning north on Broad Street, and then left on Spring Garden and left again on 15th Street, where the arrests were made.
"Get up, get down, there's revolution in this town," the protesters shouted at 17th and Spruce Streets.
When the march started, police, many of them riding bicycles, were patient as protesters confronted them repeatedly, chanting "This is what a police state looks like" and "Shame, shame."
At two points, protesters crashed through metal barriers set up by police to prevent them from returning to City Hall, and police simply watched and resumed following the marchers.
Protesters repeatedly accused police of using their bikes to shove people, and at least twice, a protester ended up on the ground.
When this happened, the marchers began shouting "All eyes! All eyes," ensuring there would be witnesses to what was happening. Many protesters held up video cameras to document the skirmishes.
In one incident, one police officer scolded another for using his bike to shove a marcher.
On 15th Street just south of Market Street, protesters and police, including mounted officers, were practically nose to nose as Occupiers accused the force often brutalizing Philadelphians.
"They pretend they are your friends," one protester shouted, and the group repeated. Some protesters seemed uncomfortable with the accusations against the police. "Stop yelling at the police," one shouted when the brutality accusation came up. "Have a heart."
When an angry crowd of protesters broke through metal barricades, the mounted units pressed them back and one woman was injured.
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