Police Raid Occupy LA Encampment, 200 Protesters Arrested

LAPD rush an OccupyLA barricade setup to block police entrance into the camp. (Photo by Jonathan Nafarrete)

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.