Entries in Occupy Los Angeles (3)


Occupy LA Cleanup May Cost Over $1 Million, Mayor Says

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- As a chain link fence and concrete barricades surrounded the City Hall Park that Occupy Los Angeles protesters called home before an overnight police raid removed them, one of the movement’s lead organizers vowed the fight would continue.

Just after midnight Wednesday, 1,400 police officers raided the park encampment and arrested 292 demonstrators who refused to follow an order to disperse.

“Occupying a patch of land adjacent to City Hall was not sustainable over time because of public health reasons,” Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa said during a news conference Wednesday.  “Anybody who went through that park knows it was not an exaggeration.  It was not hyperbole.  It was and is a public health hazard.  That’s why you saw police officers in hazmat suits.”

Villaraigosa said the protesters had to be removed as well “to make sure that everyone has access to City Hall steps.”  On Wednesday, he and Police Chief Charlie Beck thanked both law enforcement and the demonstrators for a relatively peaceful day.

Villaraigosa said that sanitation workers had been working throughout the night in the park, which was littered by trash and flattened tents, and smelled of urine.

“Replacing the lawn will cost us a lot of money,” he told reporters Wednesday.  He said the cost of the raid and the park’s repair “may go beyond a million [dollars], certainly.”

In a statement earlier in the day, Villaraigosa said that the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority had previously walked through the park to assess the needs of those who had nowhere to go.  He added that during the park’s closure, a First Amendment area would remain open on the Spring Street City Hall steps.

Mario Brito, a lead organizer of Occupy Los Angeles, said during a news conference Wednesday that activists would start occupying the neighborhoods where bank executives have homes.  He also said demonstrators were calling for a moratorium on home foreclosures.

Villaraigosa said Wednesday that he expected more Occupy protests.

“If their movement is to move beyond this stage, it will have to be peaceful,” he said.  “Working together, we can respect the right of people to speak out against the government, against injustices.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Occupy Los Angeles Protesters Ordered to Evict Encampment

Alex Stone/ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- Hundreds of police officers moved in on Occupy Los Angeles protesters camped out at a park near City Hall early Wednesday morning, ordering them to leave their encampment or face arrest.

The LAPD gave the order to dispense shortly after midnight.  Officers were seen wearing what looked like white HAZMAT suits, with gun belts on the outside and latex gloves, as they went in to clean up the camp and tear down tents.

Protesters who refused to leave were arrested with plastic handcuffs; some were even carried out.  As of 3:30 a.m. PT, 200 people had been arrested, according to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

In a statement, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said, "Once the park is cleared, it will be repaired and returned to all Angelenos to exercise their First Amendment rights."

In the meantime, Villaraigosa said "a First Amendment area will remain open on the Spring Street City Hall steps" while the park is closed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Occupy LA Protesters Defy Deadline to Vacate

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Occupy protesters in Los Angeles and Philadelphia stayed on past deadlines to vacate their respective encampments as officials backed away from plans to eject the tent cities that have sprung up to call attention to what the group calls economic injustices.

In Los Angeles, the crowd was estimated between 1,000-2,000 demonstrators just after midnight PT. Many of those people were sightseers, and as the night wore on, the crowd diminished.

Protesters have been camped out near City Hall for almost two months. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ordered the protesters to vacate by midnight last night, but police announced overnight that they would not clear the park where protesters have set up about 485 tents.

Police did request that the crowd move off the street and onto the sidewalk so as not to block the morning rush hour traffic. Protesters ignored police requests, and at least four were arrested and taken away in handcuffs. Protests were mainly peaceful, and no injuries were reported.

Around 5 a.m., Los Angeles Police Department officers in riot gear pushed people back onto the sidewalk. There was a standoff for about an hour to see if people would try to move onto the street, but they did not.

Hundreds of protesters still remain with their tents and belongings, carrying signs and chanting, making it clear that they have no intention of moving out of the park any time soon. Police Chief Charlie Beck said that authorities expect to eventually make arrests, according to ABC News affiliate KABC.

Occupy L.A. protesters said they'll be moving to the Ports of Los Angeles Dec. 12, KABC reported.

On the East Coast, a similar deadline was set by city officials for Occupy Philadelphia protesters to vacate the encampment where they have been staying for almost two months. But the deadline passed peacefully on Sunday night, as protesters held a meeting and police did not order them to leave.

In New York City two weeks ago, Mayor Bloomberg managed to clear Zuccotti Park of a large group of Occupy Wall Street protesters who had moved in for two months with camping equipment, tarps and tents. The protesters have been allowed back but their numbers have fallen since they can't enter with their gear.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio