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Police clear Oakland protest camp without incident

By Laird Harrison

OAKLAND, California (Reuters) - Police on Sunday cleared anti-Wall Street protesters from a vacant lot and public park in Oakland, California, a day after they had erected a tent camp to replace one torn down by authorities.

There were no reports of arrests or violence.

Previous unrest surrounding protests in Oakland, a West Coast Occupy hot spot, helped rally support nationwide for the Occupy Wall Street movement launched in New York in September to protest economic inequality and excesses of the U.S. financial system.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said the cost of the encampments to the city was growing and putting a strain on already fragile resources including police, public works and other staff.

Quan said in a statement that Sunday's raid was necessary and that public safety and protecting downtown businesses from vandalism are the city's priority.

"We will not tolerate lodging on public property, whether in parks or open space; it is illegal," Quan said.

Oakland police spokeswoman Johanna Watson said the protesters were "very cooperative" and police encountered no resistance.

A previous effort to remove the protesters' camp in October sparked clashes between protesters and police that wounded a former U.S. Marine and turned into one of the most violent episodes linked to the Occupy movement.

The protesters had pitched tents in the lot and adjacent park on Saturday. Police less than a week ago dismantled a similar protest camp nearby.

Oakland protesters have announced plans to shut down all West Coast ports on December 12 in coordination with like-minded protesters in Los Angeles.

To the north, two University of California, Davis police officers have been placed on administrative leave while the school investigates the apparent use by campus police of pepper spray against seated student protesters, the university said on Sunday.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and David Bailey)

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