Police in both Philadelphia and Los Angeles have launched late night raids on their cities' Occupy Wall Street protests, following similar patterns used in other cities. The LAPD issued a dispersal order shortly after 1:00 a.m. local time and are currently removing tents and making arrests at the City Hall campsite.
The incidents appear to be mostly peaceful at this point, those several people have voluntarily been arrested for refusing to obey the dispersal order. According to witnesses on the scene, the LAPD only gave protesters 10 minutes to evaccuate and the order was "unintelligible from inside the park."
The massive police action involved hundreds of officers who arrived downtown in buses and surrounded the area, in an operation they say is larger than the Michael Jackson memorial or L.A. Laker championship celebrations. Many of the officers are wearing hazmat suits, possibly out of concern that protesters may be planning to throw urine or feces at them, though it also underlines the claim that the reason for the evictions are health and safety matters. Police have also been seen carrying tear gas and bean bag guns, but it doesn't appear that they've been used yet.
We'll continue to provide updates as news comes out of both cities, but for other updates from L.A., follow The Los Angeles Times, LAist, or Al Jazeera live blogs, NBC's Antonio Castelan or The New York Times reporter Jenny Medina on Twitter, or the live Ustream from @Oakfosho, who had previously covered the Occupy Oakland protests. The media has mostly been sequestered by the police, or "embedded" military style to keep reporters out of the way.
Meanwhile in Philly, several arrests have been made as police made a similar move to disperse the protesters early in the morning Wednesday. Despite some scuffles and minor injuries, it doesn't appear as though much violence was used and most protesters left Dilworth Plaza near City Hall peacefully.
5:03 a.m. ET: Conspiracy Alert! One report says that protesters allege that the Occupy LA eviction may have been orchestrated because of a movie shoot that was scheduled to take place near City Hall this week.
5:36 a.m. ET: This video below captures Philadelphia police using their horse to push back crowds.