Occupy LA camp to be cleared next week

By Christina Hoag

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 23 2011 4:18 p.m. MST

LOS ANGELES — The Occupy Los Angeles encampment around City Hall will be cleared sometime next week, a city official and a lawyer for demonstrators said Wednesday.

Attorney Jim Lafferty and Occupy LA organizer Mario Brito made the announcement after a meeting with officials they said included a deputy mayor and high-ranking police officials. Lafferty said the camp would be given 72 hours notice.

Deputy Mayor Matt Szabo told The Associated Press that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, after consulting with police, decided the encampment on City Hall lawns will be closed at some point next week, then cleaned and restored.

"The encampment as it exists is unsustainable," Szabo said.

Lafferty, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild in Los Angeles, said the notice could come as early as Monday, meaning the eviction would occur no earlier than Wednesday.

Unlike other cities where Occupy encampments have been met with police action, Los Angeles officials initially endorsed the movement and allowed tents to sprout on City Halls lawns. More than 480 tents have since been erected.

But as problems began to arise the city sought to negotiate an end to the seven-week-old encampment by offering 10,000 square feet of office space in a civic center mall and use of empty land that could be used to cultivate food, according to participants in the talks.

That was met with lack of unanimity by Occupy demonstrators, and outrage from some who saw it as a giveaway of public resources by a city struggling with financial problems.

Associated Press Political Writer Michael R. Blood contributed to this report.

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