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Why the LAPD Wore Hazmat Suits to the “Occupation”

The Occupy L.A. and Occupy Philly campsites were both cleared out of protesters by police early this morning. But what remains in the parks is even more sickening. This is what two months of “Occupation” did to the once-scenic City Hall Park in L.A.:

The once-lush lawns are now patches of dirt strewn with tons of debris, including clothing, tents, bedding shoes, trash and two months of human flotsam. Under a tree is a guitar, a bullhorn, CDs and a black bandana.

Plywood panels erected to protect statues were sprayed with graffiti, including the words, “It smells like change.”

Early Wednesday, it smelled like pee.

Police officers in white hazardous materials suits prowled the park for personal belongs so they can be stored for retrieval by protesters. Skip loaders were to be used to scoop up the mess.

Cmdr. Andrew Smith said much of the debris is contaminated with urine and feces, and there are concerns about bacteria.

AP is reporting that police think it will take weeks to restore the park. In Los Angeles, the police presence was roughly 1,400 cops for 500 activists – which sounds like a pretty skewed ratio, until you think about how much work the eviction actually entailed. In addition to the mass arrests (news reports say 200) police also had to secure the area for public health reasons. According to Reuters, activists had been storing human waste at the site “for unknown reasons” – and there were rumors that protesters could potentially use this as a weapon against police.

The evictions in L.A. and Philadelphia follow on the heels of similar evictions in New York and Oakland. The movement is quickly losing its home base campsites in major cities, but the Occupiers are moving on. Salon reports that the next major project will be “Occupy Our Homes,” an anti-foreclosure movement that will disrupt bank auctions and fight evictions. According to Salon, the Occupy Our Homes website is registered to a former SEIU official, another example of unions attempting to steer the Occupy movement in a more action-oriented direction.