As LAPD officers surround them, Occupy L.A. protesters link arms at their City Hall encampment early Wednesday.
In the end, after Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made a show of less force when it came to the city’s approach to its own Occupy movement, a giant squad of more than 1,000 police officers descended on the downtown encampment near City Hall early Wednesday morning, arrested around 200 people and cleared the area. Meanwhile, over in Philadelphia, a similar scenario went down around 1 a.m., although with fewer arrests. —KA
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had originally welcomed the protesters, even supplying them with ponchos for inclement weather. But as city officials complained of crime, sanitation problems and property damage they blamed on the camp, the mayor decided the group had to go.
He initially set an eviction deadline for 12:01 a.m. Monday but city officials held off on enforcing it for 48 hours in the hope protesters would drift away on their own.
The strategy appeared to pay off, with police avoiding the use of tear gas or pepper spray that marked evictions of Occupy protesters in Oakland and other cities. Except for some minor initial scuffles with police, the crowd was boisterous but mostly peaceful. The bulk of the eviction was over within four hours.
In Philadelphia, protesters left their encampment in the plaza outside City Hall without incident shortly after 1 a.m., but confrontations a short time later at four different locations resulted in arrests.