Occupy L.A. protesters sit with locked arms in front of a wave of approaching riot police during a protest in front of the Bank of America on Hope Street and 3rd Street. (Arkasha Stevenson/Los Angeles Times), a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
LA mayor launches Occupy eviction countdown
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa stood next to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck at Los Angeles City Hall on Friday announcing that City Hall Park will close at 12:01am on Monday.
By NBC Los Angeles
Occupying Angelenos have until Monday at 12:01 a.m. to pack up their tents and take down the signs that have decorated City Hall Park for the past 56 days.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck announced the closure of City Hall Park, the current location of Occupy LA’s encampment, Friday during a press conference.
"We are asking the participants in the Occupy LA encampment to begin to pack their belongings and to leave City Hall Park in an orderly manner," said Villaraigosa.
Officers will begin walking through the encampment with information regarding the park closure as a part of the multi-step closure process. Social workers, nearby parking and a set amount of shelter beds will be made available to occupiers as well.
In honor of the spirit of free expression, the mayor said City Hall's historic Spring Street steps, which had become the gathering place for demonstrators’ free speech forums, will remain open during the park's cleaning.
Talk of closing the 1.2-acre park began Monday, after Deputy Mayor Matt Szabo reportedly shared news of the pending eviction with Occupy LA representatives at a meeting. Demonstrators would be given a 72-hour window to leave the area.
"Today is merely the realization that the encampment is no longer sustainable and must end," Beck said at the conference.
He added that this doesn't mean Occupy LA's message must end.
Police will not physically remove remaining protesters past 12:01 a.m. Monday, but will have the ability to enforce the park’s 10 p.m. curfew, Beck said.