Occupy L.A.: Religious leaders meet with Villaraigosa, Beck
Interfaith leaders who have recently become involved in the Occupy movement held a meeting with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck on Monday morning as city officials attempt to close the camp.
In what one spokesman called a "very cordial" 45 minutes, 14 members of the Occupy L.A. Interfaith Leaders Support Network, along with two protesters, called on the mayor to use his position as president of the National Council of Mayors to advance the movement's causes.
"The mayor acknowledges that he can't snap his fingers and just open up the conversation," said the Rev. Peter Laarman, a spokesman for the group. "But he promises to do the best he can."
The 10 a.m. meeting was the result of a letter from the network delivered Friday that called on Villaraigosa to continue negotiations with protesters. The letter also requested Monday's meeting, but Laarman said the group was unsure whether it would occur after officials announced a deadline to close the camp at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
"We didn't know if it would happen," Laarman said. "But this mayor is different. He likes to interact with constituents."
No further meetings are scheduled between the city officials and the network, but Laarman said two clergy members remain at the encampment.
-- Matt Stevens
Photo: Occupy L.A. protester John Smith cheers at daybreak with other protesters after being able to stay in the camp outside Los Angeles City Hall more than six hours after the deadline to leave had passed. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times