Occupy San Diego protesters ousted after dialogue ended, police say
Mayor Jerry Sanders, a former police chief, was informed in advance of the decision to remove the protesters and their belongings from the plaza behind City Hall, said Chief Bill Lansdowne.
An estimated 50 people were arrested in the early Friday morning sweep that took less than an hour.
There were no reports of injuries or use of tear gas. Police used plastic handcuffs to restrain those who were arrested.
"It was textbook," Lansdowne said.
About 100 San Diego officers were involved, backed by deputies from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. Lansdowne said he was proud of the officers who arrived about 2 a.m. and ordered protesters to move or be arrested.
"Most of those who were arrested wanted to be arrested," Lansdowne said.
In the first days of the occupation, police and protesters had a friendly dialogue, Lansdowne said. But in recent days as protesters began erecting more tents, dialogue deteriorated, he said.
On Friday morning, city workers steam-cleaned the plaza as police stood guard to prevent protesters from attempting to return.
Occupy San Diego organizers vowed to stage a march downtown in protest of the police actions.
-- Tony Perry in San Diego
Photo: San Diego police arrest Occupy protesters Friday. Credit: Fox 5 San Diego.