Police in full riot gear moved into New York's Zuccotti Park early Tuesday, evicting hundreds of protesters from the site where the Occupy Wall Street movement began two months ago.
Dozens of protesters who had camped out at the Lower Manhattan park since Sep 17 linked arms in defiance, according to CNN. Many chanted "Whose park? Our park" and "You don't have to do this".
Police arrested at least 14 people, it said citing Kanene Holder, a spokeswoman for the Occupy Wall Street movement. Authorities did not immediately provide figures.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office said the clearance is temporary. "Occupants of Zuccotti should temporarily leave and remove tents and tarps. Protesters can return after the park is cleared," the mayor's office said in a tweet at 1.34 a.m. About 10 minutes later, the eviction began.
Police handed out notices from the park's owner, Brookfield Office Properties, that said the continued occupation posed a health and fire hazard.
The Occupy Wall Street website video streamed the eviction under a banner headline that read, "NYPD is raiding Liberty Square".
Liberty Square is the former name of the park. While many protesters left without resisting, many others moved to the centre of the park to an area known as the kitchen.
There, they built barricades with tables to keep police away, CNN said. The air was thick with smoke, which some protesters said was from teargas that officers lobbed.
The park remained closed as of 7 a.m., with all four sides barricaded and a number of police officers on the scene. A sign posted at the park said when the park reopens, a 10 p.m. curfew would be in place, and tents and sleeping bags will be prohibited.
Bloomberg said in a statement that Occupy demonstrators "must follow the park rules if they wished to continue to use it to protest".