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Police clear Occupy encampment in San Francisco

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    A man stands amidst a small Occupy San Francisco encampment outside the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco, Monday, Dec. 5, 2011. The encampment has shrunk in recent weeks after clearings by police. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

SAN FRANCISCO >> About two dozen police officers remained at the scene early Wednesday morning of the Occupy encampment in San Francisco, hours after authorities took down more than 100 tents and arrested dozens of people as the site was dismantled.

The officers lined up to block access on Market Street while trash crews rake up paper and plastic bottles and remove chairs and other belongings that accumulated at the camp over the past two months.

Dozens of police cars, fire engines and ambulances surrounded the campsite at Justin Herman Plaza and blocked off the area during the raid that began around 2 a.m., KCBS radio reported.

Police information officers could not immediately be reached to provide an official arrest count, but Police Chief Greg Suhr told KCBS that officers dismantled more than 100 tents.

Gene Doherty, 47, an Occupy protester who was not at the site during the raid but watched it on a live streaming website, estimated that at least 40 people were taken into custody.

"They gave us about a five-minute notice to vacate the plaza and then came through and started tearing down the tents and putting them into trash compactor trucks," he said.

Radio reports said at least 50 protesters were arrested, and they could be heard chanting as they were taken away on a bus.

KCBS reported that one officer was hit with a chair in the face while wearing his face shield, which cracked. The officer escaped injury, however.

Police remained at the site after protesters briefly blocked a major thoroughfare near the site. Work crews were busy clearing debris form the tent city, which was set up in mid-October.

Doherty said the Occupy protesters planned a noon rally at the site and still had several "mobile occupations" throughout the city.

"We will come back and reoccupy," Doherty said. "A large segment of our community has no other options. They don’t have a home to go back to; this was their home."

Protesters will continue to "send a message that this is our right to protest, our right to assemble, and to talk about the economic injustices in the world," he said. 

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