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Police remove Occupy Frankfurt protesters

After ten months of demonstrations, the Occupy Frankfurt protest against anti-capitalism is being shut down. It spells the end for the longest continuous protest of its kind in Europe.

Police in the German city of Frankfurt have started to clear the campsite of that city's Occupy movement, next to the European Central Bank headquarters.

The protesters have been there since October, demonstrating against what they say is social and economic inequality. The protest in Frankfurt began after the original Occupy Wall Street protest spread from New York City last year to many other cities across the globe.

There were between 40-60 people remaining at the site, but it's believed only 20 of these were actual protesters. City authorities had argued that since most activists had left the site, which was then taken over by homeless people, the camp had little to do with the original aim of the movement.

The protesters' removal follows a court ruling upholding regulations in Frankfurt about camping on parkland owned by the city. They have been given two weeks to appeal the ruling.

As police rounded up the demonstrators and put barricades around the dozens of tents, several protesters banged drums and chanted "Occupy, occupy."

A police spokeswoman told the news agency AFP that the demonstrators were asked to leave peacefully, but warned they would otherwise be removed by force.

What next for Occupy?

Protesters said they're disappointed to be forced from the camp and reiterated that their fight was not over.

"The evacuation violates the constitution and the right to assembly. We will take this to a higher court," said 24-year-old Maike Wolf.

Wolf described the police action as "totally over the top."

Emanuel Rauber has been at the camp since October, but said the removal did not spell the end for the movement.

"We can start all over again once this has all been cleared. So it's not that bad. We'll either come back here or squat an empty house. It's a new beginning."

jr/tj (AP, dpa, Reuters)