In an early morning raid, Baltimore City police removed Occupy Baltimore protesters from McKeldin Square, the headquarters of their months-long encampment.

Sanitation workers in McKeldin Square in Baltimore early Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011. (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)

As police in full riot gear instructed protesters to leave the plaza, sanitation workers moved in to push trash, tents and personal items into a pile in the middle of the park. Initially hoping to remain at the Inner Harbor plaza until next April, Occupy Baltimore protesters had submitted applications to the mayor and to the Recreation and Parks Department in November, but the city rejected the group’s request.

After the raid, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake issued a statement in which she said that the city is “committed to protecting individuals’ right to protest; however, our public parks and green spaces should not be treated as permanent campgrounds and camping is prohibited.”

There were no arrests or injuries, and 18 of the 30 protesters accepted aid from a local homeless shelter, according to the statement. (View video of the raid from The Baltimore Sun.)

By 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, protesters were waiting to be allowed back into McKeldin Square, and a tweet from Occupy Baltimore organizer Beth Emmerling called for an emergency meeting at the the plaza at 10 a.m.

Back at mckeldin sq #occupybaltimore this is NOT the end but merely a stepping stone!Tue Dec 13 13:56:33 via UberSocial for AndroidChyno Futuristic

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