LA mayor tells defiant ‘Occupy’ demonstrators to go
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ordered anti-capitalist [sic] protesters to leave the spot where they have been rallying since October by 12:01 am Monday, citing public safety concerns.
“Occupy LA has brought needed attention to the growing disparities in our country and I look forward to its ongoing efforts to build an economy that works for everyone,” Villaraigosa said at a press conference with police chief Charlie Beck.
“As we continue to respect the exercise of everyone’s First Amendment rights in our civic center and throughout Los Angeles, City Hall Park is temporarily closing out of concern for the public safety implications of a long-term encampment,” the mayor said.
“The City of Los Angeles cannot maintain the public safety of a long-term encampment,” Villaraigosa explained almost two months after demonstrations started October 1.
An extra 50 beds for homeless demonstrators will be set up at local shelters, Villaraigosa said.
The group warned that it did not plan to clear out.
“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,” they said in a statement.
The Occupy Wall Street movement started in September as a ragtag march on New York’s Financial District to protest against corporate greed and income inequality.
It quickly mushroomed into a national movement centered on tent camps in New York, Washington, Oakland, California and other cities.