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article imagePolice storm OWS San Diego in predawn raid, journalists arrested Special

By Kelly Bowlin     Oct 29, 2011 in Politics
San Diego - In a surprise early morning raid, San Diego Police stormed the OWS San Diego Protest encampment at the Civic Center and arrested 51 people including ten journalists. Pleas have gone out online for bail assistance.
Several hundred police in full riot gear stormed the occupy San Diego tent city in front of the civic center at 2:00 a.m. Friday morning. Eyewitnesses said the police initially targeted ten journalists on the site and physically removed their cameras, cell phones and video equipment before shackling them and leading them away to a line of police vans waiting on Third Street. Another 41 people were also arrested and taken away in restraints. There were reports of some skirmishes and two unidentified pools of blood at the arrest site.
By Friday afternoon there was a large police presence at the site as workers used water hoses to clean the concrete encampment area in front of the Civic Center building. All tents, sleeping bags and food supplies had been confiscated.
Police Chief Boyd Long held a press conference at the SDPD headquarters nearby as hundreds of protestors were heard outside chanting for the release of the prisoners. Contrary to other cities handling of the loosely organized Occupy Wall Street movement, officials in San Diego have now forbidden the use of tents, sleeping bags, and overnight camping on the public property located in front of the 20 story Civic Center building. Chief Boyd made no comment with regard to the journalists who were arrested at the site.
Organizers of the Occupy San Diego Site have indicated a large contingent of protestors are now expected to converge on the site as a result of the police crackdown. An unconfirmed report indicated four labor unions will be sending personnel and support to the site by Friday evening.
Stephen Bolotin, an English teacher who’s been at the site since it began three weeks earlier, said the pre-dawn arrests have only hardened the resolve of the movement’s members. “I think the police were starting to show a bit of desperation, because earlier attempts to have us removed had failed. Last night the way they removed us was dirty, special-ops style. We were camped peacefully on public property and have a right to assemble.”
Retired army veteran and chaplain Ron Dismuke agreed. “I fought to preserve the right of free speech and to peacefully protest, and what the police did here last night was out of line.”
A young man named Angel described the scene as he witnessed his 18-year old sister get arrested. “The cops came from the south entrance to the square and also down 3rd street in large numbers in full riot gear, carrying batons. They took all our tents and ground covers including food provisions and put them in trucks near the site.”
By late Friday afternoon several news crews had arrived on the scene and one reporter indicated they will remain at the scene with live cameras in anticipation of a probable confrontation later in the evening or over the weekend.
Police at the scene refused to comment on the circumstances of the raid.
More about Occupy Wall Street, occupy San Diego, OWS San Diego, Police, Journalist
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