Occupy Baltimore evicted, western ports normal

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 13, 2011 8:38 PM
Occupy Baltimore evicted, western ports normal

By Jason Tomassini

BALTIMORE (Reuters) - Police in Baltimore evicted anti-Wall Street protesters on Tuesday and operations returned to normal at West Coast ports a day after a series of marches that disrupted operations at several terminals.

The early morning clearing of the Occupy camp's roughly 40 demonstrators near downtown Baltimore was conducted without injuries or arrests, said Ryan O'Doherty, spokesman for the city's mayor.

Occupy camps in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and other major cities were shut down in recent weeks in operations that resulted in hundreds of arrests.

The Occupy movement began with protesters taking over a park in New York in September to draw attention to economic inequality and a financial system they say is unfairly skewed toward the wealthy.

The Baltimore mayor's office threatened in late October to evict the protesters if overnight camping was not significantly reduced.

"Our public parks and green spaces should not be treated as permanent campgrounds and camping is prohibited," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said on Tuesday.

Separately, protesters had attempted to shut down container traffic at several West Coast ports on Monday in an action seen as a test of the faltering Occupy movement's momentum.

But demonstrators had largely failed to cause the large-scale interruption to shipping commerce some had sought, despite briefly shutting down some terminals.

"We're just glad to get people back to work, a lot of people's jobs depend on it," said Lee Peterson, spokesman for the Port of Long Beach in Southern California.

Officials at ports in Oakland, California; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle and Longview, Washington - which were all slowed on Monday because of the protests - also said their operations were back to normal.

Shipping analyst Calvin Wang of Dynamar B.V. said in an email the effects of the protests were limited since the peak season for transpacific container shipments has nearly passed.

(Reporting by Jason Tomassini in Baltimore, Laird Harrison in Oakland, Kathy Finn in New Orleans and Jim Forsyth in San Antonio: Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Peter Bohan and Vicki Allen)