Occupy L.A. Midnight – Occupy L.A. protesters defied the mayor’s midnight deadline Monday to vacate their encampment near City Hall, with about 1,000 demonstrators flooding into the area as the village of hundreds of tents remained standing as it has for nearly two months.
A celebratory atmosphere filled the night outside City Hall and the encampment near it. “The best way to keep a non-violent movement non-violent is to throw a party, and keep it festive and atmospheric,” said Brian Masterson.
Shortly after the midnight deadline, there was only a small police presence, about two dozen motorcycle officers who remained across the street from the camp.
“Their plan is to resist the closure of this encampment and if that means getting arrested so be it,” according to Will Picard, one of the protesters. “I think they just want to make the police tear it down rather than tear it down themselves.”
Chief Charlie Beck told reporters Friday that officers would definitely not be sweeping through the camp and arresting everyone the minute the clock ticks past midnight.
But in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that was published Sunday, Beck indicated he expects that arrests will become inevitable at some point. “I have no illusions that everybody is going to leave,” Beck said. “We anticipate that we will have to make arrests.”
But while the mayor, a former labor organizer himself, has said he sympathizes with the movement, he added it’s time to close the encampment of some 500 tents that dot the lawn in front of City Hall for the sake of public health and safety.
Although most Occupy L.A. protesters showed no signs of moving Monday, a few did seem to support the mayor’s sentiments. “I’m going,” said Luke Hagerman, who sat looking sad and resigned in the tent he’s lived in for a month in support of the Occupy L.A. movement. “I wish we could have got more done.”