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Occupy San Francisco camp cleared by police; 70 arrested

Police cleared the Occupy San Francisco camp Wednesday and arrested 70 campers and protesters

Police cleared the Occupy San Francisco camp Wednesday and arrested 70 campers and protesters at the foot of Market Street.

Police and other law enforcement officers converged on the camp at Justin Herman Plaza about 1 a.m., giving protesters five minutes to clear out, Officer Albie Esparza of the San Francisco Police Department told the San Francisco Chronicle.

The 70 were arrested on suspicion of illegal lodging and camping in a public park, Esparza said. Two were held on an additional charge of felony assault on a police officer after they picked up and threw a metal chair at an officer, Esparza said.

FULL COVERAGE: Occupy protests

One camper, Jack Martin of San Francisco, said he was trying to leave the plaza when he was zip-tied, taken to a police station, cited and released. Officers trashed his tent and personal belongings, he told the Associated Press.

"I lost everything I owned," Martin, 51, said as tears welled up in his eyes. "Everything I owned is gone. My medicine, my paper for my Social Security."

Asked what he planned to do next, Martin replied, "Occupy, occupy, occupy, occupy."

After the raid, public works crews power-washed the area while officers wearing riot helmets looked on.

The encampment at the plaza had been in place for about two months. The tent city was set up in mid-October to protest bank bailouts and economic injustice.

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-- From a Times staff writer

Photo: Workers remove debris from Occupy San Francisco's encampment at Justin Herman Plaza after a Wednesday morning police raid. Credit: Stephen Lam / Reuters

 
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