(Photo by Getty Images)
The Occupy movement is still going strong and still spreading nationally, and its LA branch of protesters is looking to the courts to strengthen their foothold in the city, specifically the encampment that has been erected outside LA's City Hall. Last night at midnight was the city imposed deadline aimed to force protesters out of the City Hall encampment; however, the deadline came and went without anyone being forcibly extracted or tents being torn down. Police focused their efforts on clearing intersections, but primarily leaving the City Hall lawn untouched, and only a handful of arrests were made.
Shortly after the sun rose on the still occupied encampment, three members of Occupy LA's City Hall liaison team filed a suit in federal court to formerly prevent the eviction. The suit names the city, its mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, and the LAPD Chief of Police as defendants and claims they violated the protesters' civil rights by reversing policy and demanding the 500 or so tents on the City Hall lawn be dismantled.
The eviction would have been an overall blow to the Occupy movement, as LA's encampment is thought to be the largest of the remaining strongholds. Mayor Villaraigosa explained that the Sunday night deadline marked when the encampment would be considered illegal, not when police would tear it down, so it remains to be seen just how long it will last without government interference. Villaraigosa and the LAPD Chief should be commended in that their handling of the deadline did not result in any violence as has become a regular occurrence at other Occupy cities.
"We will enforce the park closure," Villaraigosa said in an interview with KTLA-TV. "We thought talking through this was the best way to proceed and we've done that. But it's become crystal clear … that it wasn't sustainable to be there indefinitely. My hope is that we will be able to conclude this chapter peacefully."
See more photos from Occupy LA: