Occupy L.A. protesters will be evicted ‘when it makes sense’
As 12:01 a.m. came and went with no evictions at the Occupy L.A. encampment, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said that midnight was only the point at which the camp had become illegal, not a deadline for police action to kick out the protesters.
"We will enforce the law on our own time schedule," Beck said at a morning news conference Monday. Beck reiterated that officers would take action only "when it makes sense."
Throughout the night and into early morning, about 1,000 protesters blocked streets around City Hall. At about 5 a.m., police issued an order to disperse. Most protesters did, but a few were arrested.
The protesters moved off the streets -- allowing traffic to move freely in time for rush hour -- and back onto the park grounds around City Hall, where they have been camped out for the last eight weeks.
Authorities are now hoping that people will leave City Hall Park through attrition. But if they don't the occupation cannot last forever, police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said.
"We'll pick the right time and we'll make sure to do that in the safest manner possible," Smith said.
During an appearance on Monday on MSNBC, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa echoed those sentiments.
He told the cable news network that action to clear protesters would occur "when it is safe for the officers."
"We are working to make sure we have as orderly and peaceful a departure as possible," the mayor said.
Monday morning, police were armed with the "normal compliment of nonlethal tools," Beck said, but they were not needed.
-- Nicole Santa Cruz, Matt Stevens and Abby Sewell