Police have moved in and cleared a protest site in New York’s financial district.
The members of Occupy Wall Street had been camped there since mid-September, and have inspired many other protests around the world.
There were unconfirmed reports that tear gas was used to move the protesters, and more than 70 arrests were made.
One woman described what she saw: “They’re taking the park, they’re surrounding the park in riot gear. They’re taking it and they’re trying to block off every street right now, they’re lining up to surround us.”
The raid, in the early hours of the morning, took the camp by surprise, and was ordered on health and safety grounds.
The angry demonstrators believe the manner of the clearance will only amplify their message, but the New York mayor’s office said that they were free to return once the area was cleared. However with their shelters gone, they will now find it difficult to maintain a 24-hour occupation as the nights get colder.
The move comes a day after a similar dawn raid in Oakland, California. Authorities took action there after the site which had seen ongoing violence, including one murder.