Police in Philadelphia and Los Angeles early Wednesday raided the “Occupy” protests that so far have created some sympathy and lots of headaches for Americans.

Los Angeles police, after having submitted to a stand-off with protesters Tuesday night, began clearing them off city hall grounds in a midnight raid.

The “occupy” skirmishes with police have provided live theatre, sometimes bizarre. Protesters sang the national anthem in Los Angeles as police helicopters hovered overhead. The group of demonstrators, mostly young and all of them angry at everything from unemployment to laws against marijuana, earlier had proclaimed victory by winning what proved to be a short-lived standoff.

Approximately two hours before Los Angeles police began their raid, their counterparts in Philadelphia cleared out campers after three unheeded warnings for them to leave voluntarily from a site slated for a $50 million renovation project.

In Los Angeles, activists pulled down half of the 500 tents rather than risk a face-off with police, but others were determined to force the police to take action, which they finally did after midnight.

Approximately 1,000 police with riot gear filled buses prior to the raid while protest organizers began packing up their computers, TheLos Angeles Times reported.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told the newspaper, “The chaos out there could produce something awful.”

Across the nation, police have taken the upper hand, but the activists in Los Angeles have been the major holdouts in the demonstrations that were spawned by the Occupy Wall Street movement, ostensibly against a rich-poor disparity.

In Canada, Montreal police used special ink to “brand” demonstrators while removing them from Victoria Square in the heart of the city.