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OccupyLA Plans To Resist Monday Eviction

Staff Reporters |
November 25, 2011 | 10:43 p.m. PST

Protesters at the OccupyLA camp around City Hall plan to resist the order issued by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to abandon their 56-day-old site by Monday morning.

 Alan Mittelstaedt
Alan Mittelstaedt

During the camp's General Assembly on Friday night, more than half of the crowd of several hundred gathered in small groups to strategize plans to get arrested rather than pack up and leave.

They stood determined to resist the mayor and LAPD police chief, who rolled up the welcome mat and insisted they leave at a late Friday afternoon press conference. "The National Lawyer's Guild will be here to monitor the raid and make sure your First Amendment rights will be respected," Pam Noles, a member of Occupy LA's media team, told the protestors gathered on City Hall steps and surrounding encampment.

Noles said she doesn't expect police to show up in the wee hours of the morning, but later in the day. "We're not expecting any midnight raid."We've been assured over and over again that the police will not roll in here at 12:01 a.m."

In the smaller sessions, some said they would lock arms to resist police and others said they would sit on the ground and refuse orders to move. The so-called Raid Committee discussed plans for all those who avoid getting arrested to gather less than a mile away at Union Station. Not everyone camped at at City Hall plans to get arrested. "We're going to challenge them. We have the right to assemble. At the very minimum we deserve a 30-day eviction notice," Chris Legal Sr., 55-year-old from Detroit told Neon Tommy. "If the police chief says leave, I will obey the law. But I will also ask a judge as soon as possible to invalidate his actions."

Many others among the 500 or so protesters camped out in the chilly downtown site were more adamant about staying. An artist who called himself Sirblu said he'll refuse to leave: "We're going to stand in solidarity. This is our First Amendment right."

A morale booster of sorts arrived early in the evening in the form of a four-page newspaper called "Occupied Los Angeles Times." One of the editors, Michael Seeley, handed out copies to a waiting throng. Many stood in line for a special sentence to be emblazoned across the main photo on the front page: "You can't arrest an idea."

No unusual activity or any preparation to start folding down the camp was noted a few hours after Villaraigosa's order to leave. Here are scenes from Friday night right after the Mayor's announcement shot by USC Annenberg journalism prof Alan Mittelstaedt.

City officials and representatives of the OccupyLA movement have been negotiating on and off for several days after the mayor offered the protesters office space to get off the streets, reported The Los Angeles Times:

"Since the protest began nearly two months ago, city officials have held regular meetings with several Occupy protesters, including a representative from the National Lawyers Guild. But other protesters have complained that those representatives don’t speak for everyone and have dismissed the meetings as going against the demonstration’s democratic principles and “horizontal” organizing structure.

But on Thursday, the OccupyLA movement released a statement rejecting the city's offer.

As a collective, Occupy Los Angeles would like to express their rejection of the City of Los Angeles’ alleged proposal that we leave City Hall by November 28th, 2011, in exchange for an apparently now rescinded offer of a 10,000 square foot building, farmland and 100 SRO beds for the homeless.

Occupy Los Angeles believes that as part of a global movement advocating direct, participatory democracy, and challenging economic and social injustices, our position is such that we cannot, in all good faith, accept further material benefit from City Hall at the taxpayer’s expense without seriously compromising our beliefs, our desire for global change, and our commitment to our inherent human rights to free speech and assembly protected in this country by First Amendment Rights. The 1 percent should be paying for any services used by the Occupy Movement, not taxpayers.


During Friday's press conference, Mayor Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck vowed they would take every step possible to avoid confrontations and violence. Villaraigosa warmly lauded the movement's goals but said that continuing the encampment around City Hall was "unsustainable." He said he would do everything possible to avoid arrests but if they were necessary to enforce the law they would be carried out.

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