FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — German police on Monday carried out a court order to remove anti-capitalist protesters from an Occupy Frankfurt camp set up almost ten months ago next to the European Central Bank headquarters.
Police put up barricades around the camp and asked people to leave voluntarily, then started to carry out activists who refused and sat down. A small crane picked up heavy objects such as old sofas and loaded them in the back of a truck for removal.
The clearing of the remaining several dozen tents followed a court decision upholding the city's effort to enforce rules against camping on city-owned parkland. City official Joerg Bannach said Monday the police were trying to clear the camp "as peacefully as possible."
The city's latest authorization for the almost 10-month-old demonstration permits protesting on the adjacent public square between the ECB and the Frankfurt Opera but banned tents.
"Tents are not a means of protest," said Bannach. "That's been the case from the beginning, but we tolerated it."
An activist who would only give his name as Thomas Occupy disagreed, saying: "It has been a protest all along. We have never stopped protesting. Demonstrating yes, camping no."
The Occupy activists protested what they saw as the speculative abuses of the financial system and other forms of economic injustice. The camp acquired infrastructure that included recycling bins and portable toilets. Yet the number of people there dwindled over the months.
The city said activists had rejected an offer under which one symbolic tent would have been allowed on the grassy areas of the park, and an information stand and three tents on the pavement square nearby.