City removes Occupy LA, makes about 200 arrests *

beck-villaraigosa-occupynight.jpg
Villaraigosa and Beck meet the media after 3 a.m. Twitter photo by media pool reporter Frank Stoltze of KPCC.

Back briefly, 2:42 a.m.: Mayor Villaraigosa has just arrived in the City Hall park, says KTLA reporter David Begnaud via Twitter. In time to see the LAPD extract a protester from a tree.

2:30 a.m. signoff: Still about two dozen protesters in City Hall park awaiting arrest, says LAT reporter Kate Linthicum on Twitter. LAPD is using a cherry picker to try extracting those in trees, others tweet. Meanwhile, encounters continue between cops and protesters in surrounding blocks. No sign all night of Mayor Villaraigosa, just the email message posted below at 12:55.

2:10: TV is gone, but OakFoSho is still livestreaming from Downtown Los Angeles streets on the Occupy Oakland UStream page:



1:58: And the winner is....Channel 5 KTLA! Last station standing. Fox 11 just signed off until the morning show comes on....Nope, Channel 5 going off too.

1:54: Arrests going down at 1st Street and Broadway, of protesters sitting in street and refusing to leave.

1:48: Fox 11's Gigi Graciette says on Twitter that she was one of three TV pool reporters "randomly chosen to cover arrests in park. Deal was to NOT tweet as to not have advantage over other stations." But she complains that one reporter tweeted all night anyway.

1:40: While police arrest last group of holdouts in park, media say separate unlawful assembly declared over at 2nd Street where crowd is jeering and trying to get in....Another skirmish line at 1st and Broadway, and dispersal order given to get out of street.

1:20: Statement from Paul Weber, president of the Police Protective League, via email.

Amid ever-changing political winds, Los Angeles Police Officers have adhered to the highest standards of law enforcement in dealing with the Occupy L.A. protestors over the past two months. Acting on the commands of the civilian leadership in Los Angeles, the LAPD cleared the Occupy L.A. camp. While there is a place for civil protest, the unsanitary and dangerous conditions of the Occupy L.A. encampment required that the encampment be disbanded. The LAPD officers' training and experience have served them well in dealing with a wide range of individuals with different agendas. We commend the officers for effectively and efficiently ending Occupy L.A. at City Hall with minimum use of force.

1:15: Arrests well underway, and dismantling of tents on south lawn. City Maven reports: "To prevent protesters from returning, a fence will be put up around City Hall lawn once it is cleared, according to mayor's office."

12:55: Statement from Mayor Villaraigosa via email, not in person:

At approximately 12:30 a.m., the LAPD began enforcing the closure of City Hall Park after giving those in the park a final opportunity to leave without facing arrest.

We have taken a measured approach to enforcing the park closure because we have wanted to give people every opportunity to leave peacefully. I ask that anyone who remains in the park to please leave voluntarily.

Our approach also recognized the human need in the encampment. Since the park closure was announced on Friday, outreach workers with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority have walked through the park, assessing needs and connecting interested individuals in need with an alternative place to spend the night.

During the park closure, a First Amendment area will remain open on the Spring Street City Hall steps.

Once the park is cleared, it will be repaired and returned to all Angelenos to exercise their First Amendment rights."

12:52: Multiple arrests being shown on TV of protesters who refused to leave.

12:45: LAPD in the park now, sectioning off protesters into smaller groups, giving option to be arrested or leave. Pool reporters with them. Many protesters already out of park, per media tweets and TV reports....At least one man arrested.

12:38: Second order to leave given from police. All major Los Angeles TV stations except KABC and KCET now on live from the scene. Police chief Beck on hand.

12:28: LAPD just gave the 10-minute warning to disperse, with directions on which streets to use on leaving. Many protesters vowing to stay. NYT reporter says order was "unintelligible" in center of City Hall camp....LAPD chief Beck spotted by Fox 11 at scene...no sign of Mayor Villaraigosa, who for my money should be there....KPCC's Frank Stoltze notes that LAPD had to make the dispersal order from a police car because the original loudspeaker failed to work.

12:15 a.m.: Cops just came pouring out of City Hall south door into park. Channel 7 has gone to Jimmy Kimmel. Coverage down to 5, 9, 11 and 52. KCAL is using the Channel 2 anchors....One man with camera shoved to ground by cop on city hall stairs; after he got up and into cop's face, others moved in and piled on. He's now in custody.

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Photo from Witness LA.

11:35: LAPD spokeswoman on Ch. 2 just said "they're on the way" but that people in park will get plenty of warning to leave. 2 and 4 now on with Letterman and Leno, though 2's sister station KCAL is on. 5, 7 and 11 staying with the news so far. Also, yellow tape has gone up around the media area on 1st between LAPD headquarters and City Hall. Media in there can stay.

11:18: Reuters pool report says there were about 1,200 police at Dodger Stadium staging area, enough to fill 30 buses, according to tweet from New York Times report Jenny Medina.

11:10: Telemundo 52 and Univision 34 also on now with news from downtown. Media at scene tweet that the National Lawyers Guild lawyer came out of meeting with LAPD and said police will give a 10-minute dispersal warning before clearing the park.

11:05: 2, 4 and 7 join the coverage. Fox 11 decided to stay on the news and skip "The Simpsons" (too easy, I know, but still: D'oh!) KTLA also preempts "Friends." KCAL also stays with news.

10:54 LAPD Commander Andy Smith on KCAL, says crowd is larger than this afternoon, but peaceful. No arrests. He won't discuss any plans for a raid. "There's a ton of bad information out there," but won't say what is accurate. Says street closure is Temple to 3rd Street, Broadway to Alameda, people can leave but not come in.

10:51: 2 LAPD copters now over City Hall, per KTLA pilot -- one up high to record the events and send picture to cops on the ground, and one down low shining the light.

10:43 update: Channels 5, 9 and 11 are on with their news shows, but the network stations are staying with entertainment programming.

* 10:25 update: Out of power, back at home base. On the way, the traffic reporter on KNX forced a laugh, saying deadpan that there was some sort of police activity at 1st and Main due to "a large demonstration." Duh. On TV, KCAL's chopper pilot just said he's under an agreement with LAPD not to give tactical details, but called the staging activity at Dodger Stadium the largest LAPD mobilization he has ever seen.

Original post:

I'm downtown where the LAPD has begun closing down streets headed toward City Hall. Spring, Broadway, Los Angeles and Alameda have been blocked off at the 101 freeway, which seems like a huge perimeter. Earlier I was outside Dodger Stadium and saw the staging area being used by police. Protesters were given flyers earlier saying they had until 10:30 to vacate City Hall. Looks like the LAPD is ready to move in then.

The LAPD has gone on citywide tactical alert.


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