Occupy L.A.: Protesters release statement on their eviction
Occupy L.A. protesters Wednesday released their first official statement since being swept off the City Hall lawn in an elaborate overnight police raid. In the statement, which demonstrators said was approved by consensus, they wrote:
"We call upon all sisters and brothers of the occupy movement -- sympathizers, supporters and critics -- to join us as we speak out against the use of intimidation, force and political power to break up peaceful occupations and repress or criminalize the exercise of our 1st Amendment rights."
The protesters said they reject "health, safety or aesthetic concerns" as fair reasons for their removal, and said their protest was necessary because the current political process "leaves no room for the organic and legitimate voice of the people."
Last week, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called for the closure of the City Hall park where protesters had been camped since Oct. 1. He said the eviction was necessary because of health and public safety risks at the camp, as well as extensive damage to the City Hall lawn.
In recent weeks, news outlets have reported on police reports of an increase of crime in the downtown blocks surrounding City Hall.
-- Kate Linthicum