Oakland police officers moved in on "Occupy Oakland" in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday, forcing everyone to leave Frank Ogawa Plaza.
The raid was violent and chaotic at times, but Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said he was pleased with the way things went because there were no injuries to the public or his officers.
Police in riot gear surrounded the camp at Broadway and 14th Street beginning at 4:30 a.m. Police said they arrested 75 people; most of them for misdemeanor offenses. They said another 100 people were moved out of the area without being arrested.
People who work in downtown Oakland were told to delay their start time if possible. They were given the all clear to go to work at 11 a.m.
In a press conference that followed the morning raid, Jordan defended his officer's use of tear gas by saying, "We deployed it to affect an arrest because some officers were being pelted with rocks and bottles." He said a beanbag weapon was also used after someone threw a garbage can at police.
Loud bangs were heard in the moments after the raid began. Jordan said that came from M-80 and M-1000 firecrackers protesters hurled at officers.
Jordan said police gave the campers an opportunity to leave before they moved in, and about 30 campers did.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan was in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, but said in a statement that while the city supports the national movement, she was forced to act because of the unsanitary condition of the protests. Officers said they found human feces and needles in the Occupy area.
"Many Oaklanders support the goals of the national Occupy Wall Street movement...However, over the last week it was apparent that neither the demonstrators nor the city could maintain safe or sanitary conditions, or control the ongoing vandalism," Quan said in a statement.
Quan said protesters are welcome to gather in Frank Ogawa Plaza during daylight hours but they must go home in the evening.
Oakland City spokeswoman Karen Boyd wrote in a statement Tuesday morning that at 4:30 a.m. the department began enforcing the "notice of violations and demand to cease violations" to people staying overnight in the plaza.
Two men who had been living at the camp at Broadway and 14th Street said they were arrested when officers outfitted in riot gear raided the plaza shortly before 5 a.m.
Speaking by cellphone from the back of a police van around 6 a.m., Brian Glasscock, a 20-year-old Oakland resident, said police had used a flash grenade and that he also saw tear gas. He claimed his tent was ripped apart.
The second man, 23-year-old Berkeley resident Davonte Gaskin, said he had been camping with Occupy Oakland for four days, and that police had used batons to dismantle his tent before arresting him for camping in the plaza.
A 4 p.m. rally of Occupy folks at 14th and Madison stayed calm in the early going. NBC Bay Area reporter Jodi Hernandez said two buses filled with members of the Santa Clara county sheriff's department in riot gear arrived on the scene just before 4 p.m.
About 200 to 300 protesters were on hand chanting. They said they planned to march from 14th and Madison back to Frank Ogawa Plaza.
Bay City News contributed to this report.