Mayor Says Occupy L.A. "Cannot Continue"
Nearly one month after protesters began camping outside Los Angeles City Hall for Occupy L.A., Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Wednesday that measures need to be taken to taper down the demonstrations.
"I respect the protesters' right to peacefully assemble and express their views," the mayor said in an interview with the L.A. Times. "However, the protesters must respect city laws and regulations, and while they have been allowed to camp on City Hall lawns, that cannot continue indefinitely."
A spokeswoman for the mayor said he has also instructed city officials to begin drafting a plan to identify another location for the demonstration.
The mayor's announcement comes on the heels of what occurred at the Occupy Oakland movement Tuesday night where police enforcement of city laws escalated into violence. Protesters threw paintballs, bottles and rocks and Oakland police responded with tear gas, beanbag ammunition and nearly 100 arrests.
A law that bans people from camping in the city park has not been followed by the police who have been allowing around 350 protesters camp overnight. Though Villaraigosa has instructed new limitations of where people are allowed it is still unsure of how it will take place considering this restriction is similar to the current law.
The city laws and regulations in question include one that prohibits people from camping in city parks after 10:30 p.m. and regulations regarding public health and safety for L.A. residents. County health inspectors recently expressed concerns over the camp's cleanliness and damage done to the lawn and trees.
"The lawn is dead, our sprinklers aren't working...our trees are without water," Villaraigosa said.
Several protesters appealed City Council Wednesday in response to the mayor's message and asked to stay in their current encampment.
Shocked by Councilman Bill Rosendahl's comment to KABC for protesters "to move on," demonstrator Alex Everett, 26, said protesters would not leave without a fight.
While Everett said protesters do not have a united view of how the country will move forward because "victory is different to different people," but he is sure that "this movement's never going to end."