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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

At Least Four Arrested At Occupy L.A.

Ryan Faughnder, Catherine Green, Tasbeeh Herwees |
November 28, 2011 | 10:03 a.m. PST


Police arrested at least four Occupy LA protesters as they cleared the streets and sidewalks for traffic early Monday morning following a tense late-night standoff. 

Police line near Occupy LA encampment late last night (Wilson Pumpernickel)
Police line near Occupy LA encampment late last night (Wilson Pumpernickel)

Police did not dismantle the demonstrator's encampment, leaving such moves for another day.

The encampment of protesters that has been protesting economic inequality for months on the Los Angeles City hall lawn had been ordered to clear the area by 12:01 a.m. Monday morning. The deadline was set Friday at a press conference by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The mayor and Los Angeles Police Department chief Charlie Beck cited public health and safety concerns, saying the lawn would be cleared of tents in order to repair the lawn. 

"While Occupy LA has brought needed attention to the economic disparities in our country, an encampment on City Hall grounds is simply not sustainable indefinitely," the mayor said in a statement Sunday night.

The protests have notably been among the most peaceful offshoots of the Occupy movement, which began with protesters demonstrating in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan against a host of perceived economic injustices. 

The L.A. encampment has experienced none of the violence that drew widespread attention to similar camps in Oakland and UC Davis.

Police declared at 5 a.m. that any protesters remaining on the sidewalk represented an unlawful assembly and moved in to clear them out. Some protesters reportedly started throwing signs and wooden stakes at the line of police officers, but some of their fellow protesters restrained them. 

Protester John Davis, 23, was at the camp until late and didn't see anyone get arrested, but said tensions were high when protesters and police met in the street. 

"We're a peaceful movement, we want things done a certain way," said Davis. "They do what they do thinking they're in the right, but they're not."

The city-wide tactical alert issued during the night was cancelled at 7 a.m.

LAPD Commander Andy Smith said the department's goal was to clear the streets rather than take down the encampment. "Our goal right now is to try and keep it as peaceful as possible," Smith said.

The scene at City Hall Monday morning after 7 a.m. appeared relatively calm, according to Neon Tommy reporters on the ground. "I don't think [the police] know what to do," said one protester.

Some police remained near the City Hall steps and across the street from the encampment as protesters gathered in the free speech zone.

The general consensus among among protesters was that the Mayor and city officials are under heavy pressure to remove the protesters. Protesters expressed worries that the standoffs with police would distract from the cause. 

Protester Mark Lipman, 43, had moved his tent to a City Hall tree late at night. "If they want my tent, they'll have to come up and get it," he said Monday morning. 

Fewer tents occupied the lawn Monday morning. 

"Tents used to fill this space. Looks like a lot of occupiers were scared off by city eviction notice," tweeted Neon Tommy Reporter Tasbeeh Herwees.

Reach us here. See all of our Occupy eviction coverage here



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