More than 70 protesters have been arrested early this morning as police mounted a raid on the Occupy Wall Street camp at Zuccotti Park in Manhattan, New York.
Up to 1,000 police officers moved in to evict the protesters – some of whom have been there since it was set up in mid-September when the protests began.
Occupy Wall Street protesters have been told that once the park is cleaned, they can return but will not be allowed to take their tents with them.
But even that wasn’t enough to end the demonstration because once they had been cleared from Zuccotti Park, around 200 regrouped a mile away at Foley Square.
The protesters were swiftly followed by police who formed a cordon, but most officers later left the scene.
One of the NYPD buses carrying arrested protesters drove by Foley Square and was met with cheers from the group that had gathered.
Protesters were also seen pouring milk into the eyes of people who had been targeted by police with pepper spray.
As the morning progressed and New York woke up to news that the protest had moved, more people gathered at Foley Square.
It was also spurred on by a group that joined them having initially moved to the corner of Broadway and Pine Street.
In the early hours of this morning, helicopters swept the streets around Zuccotti Park while around 400 people were penned in on a corner around two blocks along Broadway.
They had been cordoned in by two lines of police, shoulder to shoulder with visors, helmets and brandishing batons.
As the initial clearance of Zuccotti Park got under way, an improvised barricade made of tables and pieces of scrap wood had been set up in the kitchen area.
Demonstrators held their hands above their heads while chanting “We are the 99 per cent” and “peaceful protest”.
At one point they tried to breach the police line, but they were quickly pushed back.
Metal barriers had been set up on every corner as crowds dispersed with small protests reported at City Hall, Foley Square and at Grand/Lafayette.
On the streets surrounding the park, police were moving people on and bystanders were urged to move beyond the metal barriers.
Police offered little information as to what was going on inside the park but one officer said they had been assigned to police lines surrounding the camp until they were relieved by the next shift.
Some protesters claimed their tents were ripped up as the the eviction got under way while a police official said there had been 40 arrests.
At about 1:00 a.m. this morning, police handed out notices from the park’s owner, Brookfield Office Properties, and the city saying that the park had to be cleared because it had become unsanitary and hazardous.
The protesters were told they could return in several hours, but they would not be allowed to bring with them their sleeping bags, tarpaulins or tents.
The mayor’s office tweeted that the protesters saying: “Occupants of Zuccotti should temporarily leave and remove tents and tarps. Protesters can return after the Park is cleared.”
Police were indiscriminate in the people they evicted from the park and also moved reporters and photographers away from the the area.
Paul Browne, a spokesman for the New York Police Department, said most people began filing out of the park once they received the notices.
The spokesman added that the park was not heavily populated on Tuesday morning as the clearance got under way.