November 29, 2011
The city of Los Angeles was still “occupied” last night, as protesters defied an official deadline to clear an encampment where they have been demonstrating since October against America’s widening wealth gap.
Riot police descended late on Sunday on the public space surrounding City Hall, where about 400 tents and 800 members of the so-called “99 per cent” have spent the past seven weeks, but officers withdrew after six hours.
They had hoped to enforce an order by the Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, for the site to be cleared by midnight. But unlike their pepper-spraying counterparts in other US cities, they were not willing to use extreme force.
A stand-off duly ensued. By dawn yesterday, the City Hall encampment remained untouched but surrounding streets were mostly clear of demonstrators, allowing the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) to claim success in preventing major roads from being blocked during Monday’s rush-hour.