Occupy L.A. protesters gone but their belongings, debris remain
City crews were busy surveying the damage to the park surrounding City Hall, and erecting fences and concrete barriers around the block, hours after police evicted hundreds of Occupy L.A. protesters.
At 7 a.m., dozens of tents were still on the City Hall south lawn, collapsed and surrounded by the debris and belongings that were abruptly abandoned in the wake of the raid -- books, luggage, mattresses, folding chairs, miniature chalkboards, canned goods and jars of instant coffee. Not far from a newly installed security fence, static interspersed with music came from a small portable radio.
Peter Sanders, a spokesman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, said it would take eight to 10 hours to clean up the South Lawn.
On the north side of City Hall, an assortment of other belongings were strewn along the gutter: pillows, tennis balls, cigarette lighters, packets of instant hot chocolate, a jar of Italian seasoning and an Ashford & Simpson album from 1977 featuring the song "I Waited Too Long."
"It is going to take quite a while to clean this up," said Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Jose Perez.
Police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said crews were in the process of surrounding the lawn at City Hall with concrete K-rails and chain-link fencing used at events like the Long Beach Grand Prix.
"If it will stop a car, it will stop anyone getting on the lawn," Smith said.
Across the street. a handful of protesters milled around. Smith allowed one man who claimed he was away last night to reclaim his belongings from the lawn.
The stench of urine and old food emanated from the lawn. Abandoned white bio-suits donned Tuesday night by police officers surrounded the piles of trash.
City work crews plan to initially remove items by the steps of the City Hall lawn. Officers remain around the area with support teams nearby in case protesters try to take back the park. A small group of protesters stood on the northeast corner of Main and 1st streets, yelling insults at officers.
-- Richard Winton and David Zahniser
Photo: Sanitation worker Gino Ramirez starts the daunting task of cleaning the Occupy L.A. encampment at City Hall. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times
Video: Richard Winton / Los Angeles Times