Denver Police in Riot Gear Move Into Wall Street Protest Area

Dozens of police in riot gear pushed Wall Street protesters into retreat outside the state Capitol in Denver on Friday, and the protesters are retreating without resisting.

Many of the protesters chanted "Peaceful!" as they backed away from their encampment.
Officers placed plastic handcuffs on some protesters.

Authorities began taking down dozens of tents before dawn. Later, officers in helmets and carrying batons advanced on the a line of protesters who had locked arms around the tents, including a makeshift kitchen.

A main downtown street running by the park was cordoned off and some bus service was disrupted.

The action came after authorities gave an 11 p.m. Thursday deadline to clear the park, the scene of an anti-Wall Street protesters.

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In New York, meanwhile, the official cleanup of a plaza in lower Manhattan where protesters have been camped out for a month was postponed early Friday, sending up cheers from a crowd that had scrambled to scrub the park on its own out of fear the effort was merely a pretext to evict them.

Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said the owners of the private park, Brookfield Office Properties, had put off the cleaning.

Supporters of the protesters, including union members, had started streaming into the park in the morning darkness well beforehand in a show of solidarity.

There was still skepticism even after the protesters were told they could stay, for now.

"I'll believe it when we're able to stay here," said protester Peter Hogness, 56, a union employee from Brooklyn. "One thing we have learned from this is that we need to rely on ourselves and not on promises from elected officials."

The "mother" protest in New York that began a month ago has spawned similar encampments in cities across the U.S. and world, and in places beyond New York it was clear that officials' patience was wearing thin.

A number of cities, like Denver, have been trying to get the protesters to stop sleeping on the streets and in parks.

In Trenton, New Jersey, protesters were ordered to remove tents from their encampment near a war memorial.

Boisterous cheers floated up from the crowd in New York as the announcement of the cleaning postponement circulated, and a small group soon marched away with brooms, saying they were going to clean up Wall Street, a few blocks away.

There were reports of a handful of arrests.

Brookfield, a publicly traded real estate firm, had planned to power-wash the New York plaza section by section over 12 hours and allow the protesters back -- but without much of the equipment they needed to sleep and camp there. The company called the conditions at the park unsanitary and unsafe.

The company said it now believes it can work out an arrangement with the protesters that "will ensure the park remains clean, safe, available for public use," the statement said.

Even before the protesters learned they were allowed to stay Friday, they were busy cleaning.

After the announcement filtered through the crowd, some scrubbed the park's marble and pavement with brooms and soapy water and picked up trash as others unfurled tarps on the rain-dampened concrete and ate potluck breakfast off paper plates. One man practiced his yoga sun salutation despite the dark clouds.

Liane Nikitovich, 44, fitness instructor, said she was buoyed by the news but also concerned that it was a postponement -- not a cancellation.

"It's really a victory for freedom of speech and for democracy," Nikitovich said. "This is one moment. It shows that our support is growing worldwide."

The protesters' demands are wide-ranging, but they are united in blaming Wall Street and corporate interests for the economic pain they say all but the wealthiest Americans have endured since the financial meltdown.

The nationwide movement also includes groups called Occupy Boston, Occupy Cincinnati, Occupy Houston, Occupy Los Angeles, Occupy Philadelphia, Occupy Providence and Occupy Salt Lake.

Several protests are planned this weekend across the U.S. and Canada, and European activists are also organizing.