In the wake of violent unrest at an Occupy Oakland demonstration Tuesday night, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is calling on protesters at City Hall to move.
He told the Los Angeles Times Wednesday, "the protesters must respect city laws and regulations, and while they have been allowed to camp on City Hall lawns, that cannot continue indefinitely." Villaraigosa is referring to a city law that restricts overnight camping on public property.
City officials are careful about how they explain the crackdown, focusing on sanitation instead of political content, which is protected speech under the first amendment.
Protesters have occupied the City Hall lawn since Oct. 1, setting up tents and camping overnight. They use occupation as a form of civil disobedience for their causes: economic equality and democratic ideals, including less corporate influence in government. The Occupy LA movement is only one branch of a worldwide Occupy movement, which started at Wall Street in New York on Sept. 17.
Should protestors be forced to pack up and go? If so, how should law enforcement proceed?
Dennis Zine, city councilman representing the 3rd Disctict in the San Fernando Valley.