Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced that Occupy L.A. must vacate the park near City Hall where they had set up camp by 12:01 a.m. Monday. The eviction will bring an end to the nation's largest remaining Occupy movement.
Saying that the camp is unsustainable and that the park needs to be mended, the mayor called for an orderly end to the camp Friday afternoon. Though the hope is to have all the protestors out of the camp by the deadline, it's not believed that those that remain will be immediately evicted (though removal tactics have yet to be revealed). The city hopes to help those who don't have anywhere to go find beds in local homeless shelters. "The goal is to do this as peacefully as possible," the city's Police Chief Charlie Beck said.
Though forceful in his deadline, the mayor also took the chance to praise the movement for its message. "In seven short weeks, you have awakened the country's conscience," Villaraigosa said in a statement addressed directly to Occupy L.A.
Until now the city had openly embraced Occupy L.A., welcoming campers and passing a resolution in support of the movement. The mayor, a former labor and community organizer himself, even handed out plastic ponchos to protestors when it rained. The encampment also hasn't experienced the clashes with police seen by other Occupy movements, most notably those in New York and Oakland.
In response to the mayor's statement Occupy L.A. has vowed to stay in the park. It remains to be seen how much supports those who do will receive, but Good L.A., a coalition of unions and community groups that has worked with the movement, called on the mayor and city council to leave the camp be. "Elected leaders should be more concerned about enforcing regulations on banks than enforcing park rules," said Jacob Hay, a spokesman for the group.