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No plans to evict Occupy LA protesters from City Hall

November 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Early Monday morning, police in riot gear cleared out the Occupy encampment in a downtown plaza, but police were expected to allow the camp to reopen soon. Demonstrators reportedly cannot roll out their sleeping bags and spend the night. In Los Angeles, members of the Occupy Los Angeles protest are wondering what all that means for them.

In Oakland Monday morning, police dismantled tents and cleared out what was left of the Occupy Oakland protest, one day after city officials ordered the demonstrators to leave downtown, in the wake of several violent clashes between police and protesters.

"It was no longer about the abuses of the financial system, or foreclosures or the unemployed," said Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. "The encampment became a place where we had repeated violence and this week, a murder."

In Portland, Oregon, police in riot gear emptied parks and faced off with angry demonstrators. More than 50 people were arrested on Sunday as police emptied downtown parks.

In Los Angeles Sunday, there was some pushing and shoving around the downtown encampment. Police were called in but no one was hurt.

LAPD Commander Andrew Smith says Occupy L.A. remains, for the most part, a peaceful demonstration.

"There's minor infractions that go on, which we try to address as they crop up," said Smith. "I would say the majority of the folks here are just exercising their First Amendment right to peacefully protest."

Peter Callan has been camping in front of City Hall for the past three weeks.

"I don't know why it's not violent, 'cause it seems like it would be for all the right reasons. It just happens not to be," said Callan.

Its organizers say the Occupy L.A. demonstration has attracted many homeless residents, but remains focused on its anti-Wall Street message.

"Our relationship here with the authorities, our relationship here with the city, we're saying, 'Hey, you know what? We are doing the best we can,'" said Joseph Jacques, an Occupy Los Angeles organizer.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says there are no plans to evict the protesters.

"The protesters here at City Hall have been peaceful," said Villaraigosa. "They have for the most part complied with the law. Where they haven't, we've had to address that."

One of the lead organizers of Occupy Wall Street visiting from New York spoke here recently and said that he plans to shift the focus from New York to Los Angeles over the winter.


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