The eviction of Occupy Wall Street early Tuesday morning raises questions about the future of the at least 300 residents of 200 North Spring Street who have been occupying City Hall Park for a month and a half.
Last night and tonight at least a hundred occupiers marched through downtown Los Angeles to stand in solidarity with the protesters who were evicted from Zuccotti Park in New York City in what is being called a “surprise sweep” by the city of New York.
This morning we contacted Mayor Villaraigosa’s office for a statement on the eviction in regard to Occupy Los Angeles. According to a spokesperson for the Mayor’s office, Peter Sanders, the city is monitoring “how other cities across the nation are dealing with the various Occupy protests, recognizing that each city has unique challenges and circumstances. In L.A. we continue an ongoing dialogue with the protesters, including a previously scheduled meeting today between LAPD and the Occupy LA protesters.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, has confirmed that a timeline for the occupation to come to a conclusion is now in the works with the occupiers. We attempted to reach the occupation organizers for a statement in response to LAPD Chief Beck’s statement but were unable to get one in time for print.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg cited health reasons for the eviction of the protesters at Zuccotti Park. Mayor Villaraigosa and Chief Beck have both raised issues of health and sanitation as reasons for seeking the removal or relocation of the protesters from City Hall Park. Chief Beck has cited sustainability issues, stating that the park lawn surrounding City Hall is “a piece of dirt, it’s not sustainable ecologically and it’s only going to get worse and worse. We need to find either a different location or a different medium for them to use.”
According to the mayor’s official statement, Occupy Los Angeles has been cited several times for violating city health and public safety codes. According to one Occupy LA organizer, the occupation has incurred three thousand dollars worth in fines. However the mayor’s office acknowledges that there have not been any “serious incidents associated with Occupy LA.”
The occupiers have been steadfast in their stance. They have plans to stay indefinitely and are preparing for a possible raid. Some of the occupiers have purchased gas masks or have begun carrying vinegar on marches in case pepper spray is used as crowd control by the LAPD.