NEW ORLEANS -- A federal judge is allowing Occupy protesters and homeless people to return to the New Orleans park where they had been camped since early October.
U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey's order Tuesday allows the group, Occupy NOLA, to return for at least seven days.
About 150 officers marched into the encampment across from City Hall before dawn Tuesday. They forced about 150 occupants out and removing tents in a peaceful eviction that sometimes drew loud complaints but did not result in violence.
Their lawyer Bill Quigley said the move was a surprise and that city officials had said they would not evict the occupants until after Tuesday's court hearing.
"You people are treasonous!" one protester shouted as the 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.
There was no immediate reaction Tuesday evening from protesters on the ruling.
Elsewhere across the country Tuesday:
- 5 Occupy protesters cited in Tennessee
- Occupy protesters at home of Ore. couple facing eviction
- Occupy protesters in Cincinnati court Tuesday
- Marching to foreclosed home, accompanied by cops
- Demonstrators from 46 states 'Take back the Capitol'
- City may issue Occupy Albany permit
- BofA workers told to be careful amid Occupy protests
- Occupy Hartford protesters told to vacate
- Police clear out New Orleans camp
- Housing and Occupy activists take aim at foreclosed homes, empty lots
For more on Tuesday's Occupy action, click here.