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Occupy L.A.: LAPD surrounds hundreds of protesters in camp

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Los Angeles Police Department officers swarmed the Occupy L.A. camp early Wednesday and began to dismantle tents and arrest demonstrators.

Columns of police moved from several sides into the camp, which has been the subject of much debate across Los Angeles since it was set up nearly eight weeks ago. Lines of officers came from inside City Hall, forcing hundreds of protesters onto the south lawn and quickly encircling them.

The protesters were essentially surrounded in the park. They linked arms as the police moved in. Some chanted "We are peaceful" and "We are the 99%."

Occupy L.A.: Photos | 360° photos | Video | Live webcam

Police tore down a large plastic structure on a stairwell and pulled out large bags of cement that protesters had placed in some tents.

The LAPD strategy appeared to be to trap protesters inside the park, sometimes pushing them with batons but not appearing to strike them. Some officers were armed with bean-bag rifles.

As police moved in, a throng of protesters stood in their faces. "Remember your mother!" one yelled. "You're not here to beat up citizens."

One officer said the police were trying to demonstrate to the protesters what areas would be off-limits when an unlawful assembly was declared.

FULL COVERAGE: Occupy protests

When the whirl of approaching sirens could be heard, the protesters ran back to the park shouting. Dozens of officers then marched up Main Street in riot gear toward the park, followed by police vehicles and more officers. Hundreds streamed into the park, some wearing white latex Hazmat suits.

Officers flooded into the area in the same manner from four corners simultaneously, Officer Sara Faden said.

RELATED:

LAPD traps hundreds of protesters in camp

Confrontation occurs on Broadway at 1st Street

Some protesters prepare for tear gas, others leave

-- Kate Linthicum and Joel Rubin

Photo: Los Angeles police officers move into the Occupy L.A. camp early Wednesday. Credit: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times

 
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