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Police evict Occupy London protesters from camp

The long standing Occupy protest outside London's St Paul's Cathedral has ended with an eviction. ITV's Paul Brand reports. 

LONDON -- Police and bailiffs worked through the night and into the early hours of Tuesday morning to evict protesters from the Occupy London encampment beside the city's landmark St Paul's Cathedral.

There were around 20 arrests, according to breakingnews.com editor David Wyllie, who was on the scene and posting updates on Twitter.

But there was no violent resistance as the eviction went on, with officials quickly clearing debris on the ground to prevent them from being used as weapons. Public access was restricted prior to the operation and a number of local roads were closed, Wyllie reported.

Tents were unceremoniously thrown into large trash cans and crushed as the owners looked on, he said. Protesters said vanloads of police arrived at the site to carry out the eviction.

The local authority, the City of London Corporation, confirmed the eviction was under way by bailiffs, backed by police.

The urban camp had been set up as part of an international movement inspired by the U.S. Occupy Wall Street against what the activists say is corporate greed and economic inequality. Protesters had been camped outside the 300-year-old church since October.

The eviction comes months after authorities dismantled Occupy encampments in many U.S. cities

Movement not over
BBC correspondent Jeremy Cooke reported from the scene that the mood was largely peaceful early on. 

"This has always been a peaceful process, and it has never looked like (it was) turning into anything other than that," said poet and protester Catherine Brogan, according to The Guardian.

Demonstrators said the end of the camp would not mean the end of the Occupy movement.

Dylan Martinez / Reuters

A bailiff removes a tent from Occupy protesters encampment in front of St Paul's Cathedral in London early Tuesday morning. The eviction started just after midnight, carrying out a court order after protesters lost an appeal.

"It's only tents and materials the injunction applies to so I think some protesters will be back here tomorrow," Gary Sherborne told The Associated Press.

Later, the mood turned tense as police closed in on a group of remaining protesters who had chained themselves to some wooden pallets to make a "last stand," witnesses on The Guardian live stream and Wyllie reported.

Protesters were dragged from the platforms and several key protesters leading the chants were restrained by officers holding onto each limb.

Police removed one activist from a tree overlooking the site.

Roads opened to traffic shortly before 5 a.m. (12 a.m. ET) as local authority workers hosed down the site removing the last traces of the protesters from the area.

Last week a court rejected an Occupy London challenge to an eviction order, ruling that the right to protest did not justify a semi-permanent camp on a public pathway.

"We regret that it has come to this but the High Court Judgment speaks for itself and the Court of Appeal has confirmed that Judgment," said a press release from the City of London Corporation.

"The City of London Corporation is ensuring vulnerable people are being helped and supported to find appropriate accommodation in partnership with Broadway, a charity for the homeless," it said.

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Breakingnews.com's David Wyllie and The Associated Press contributed to this report. (Breakingnews.com is a sister site to msnbc.com.)