Gerald Herbert / AP
An Occupy New Orleans demonstrator gathers his possessions as New Orleans police clear out the encampment in Duncan Plaza across from City Hall in New Orleans, on Tuesday.
Scores of police officers marched into an encampment of protesters and homeless people across from City Hall in New Orleans before dawn Tuesday, forcing the dozens of occupants out and removing tents in a peaceful eviction that drew loud, sometimes raucous complaints but did not result in violence.
"You people are treasonous!" one protester shouted as more than 100 uniformed officers moved through the makeshift camp grounds at Duncan Plaza, a city block of green space that has been home to the loosely knit Occupy New Orleans movement since Oct. 6.
City officials had accommodated the protesters for weeks, allowing the tents — some nothing more than tarps or sheets of plastic thrown over ropes strung between trees — to stand unmolested and even providing portable toilets. But New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu had warned Friday that it was time for the around-the-clock encampment to end. Police had been distributing flyers warning that the park could no longer be used as a camp ground and, on Tuesday around 4 a.m., began ringing the park with barricades in preparation for the eviction.
"This was a display of a very well organized, well thought out, and now well executed effort," Landrieu said at a Tuesday morning news conference.
Landrieu said police and representatives of the city had gone through the camp several times a day since Friday telling people they must leave and handing out flyers telling them to leave.
He thanked the police and the protesters for the peaceful resolution.
"You can see from the way this was conducted it was very different from what happened around the country," Landrieu said, referring to recent violent clashes between police and protesters in other cities.
The move by police came ahead of a hearing later Tuesday during which a federal judge was to consider a request by protesters to issue a temporary restraining order blocking the city from evicting them and an injunction that would allow them to continue their around-the-clock occupation.
Elsewhere around the country, housing activists and "Occupy"protesters were gearing up to take over foreclosed homes and empty lots and help defend families facing eviction in at least 25 cities as part of a bid to re-energize the grassroots movement and put the spotlight on the ongoing housing crisis.
From towns such as Southgate, Mich. and Lake Worth, Fla., to cities like Portland, Ore., and Chicago, activists were planning to disrupt auctions on foreclosed homes, hold candlelight vigils and join families battling eviction in their residences.