Police Raid Occupy LA Encampment, 200 Protesters Arrested
Early Wednesday morning an estimated 1,400 Los Angeles police officers raided the Occupy LA camp at Los Angeles City Hall Park. Officers in riot gear and HAZMAT suits surrounded City Hall and swarmed the protesters’ makeshift camp, dismantling tents and placing some 200 “Occupiers” who refused to vacate the park in zip-tie plastic handcuffs.
Days before this morning’s raid Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa declared the encampment an unlawful assembly and set a deadline for protesters to leave the park on Nov. 28. Two days after that deadline passed Villaraigosa gave the order for police to clear the park. At about 500 tents, Occupy LA was the largest remaining Occupy Wall Street-related encampment in the country.
Local LA news site, LAist, live-blogged the events as they transpired that night– noting that though police were an intimidating presence protesters were, for the most part, cooperative and that and the operation proceeded with few altercations.
Mayor Villaraigosa issued a statement after the raid saying that during the park’s closure a “first amendment area” would remain open on City Hall for people to exercise their right to free expression.
In Philadelphia local police carried out a similar action dismantling the Occupy Philly encampment outside of their City Hall and driving out dozens of protesters. According to the Philadelphia Enquirer about 50 arrests were made with three officers and some protesters suffering minor injuries.