Occupy LA protestors vowed Wednesday morning to take the movement beyond City Hall despite police overnight raids that shut down their encampment. Protest organizers, community members, and labor supporters planned a morning meeting to discuss the next step in the movement.
You cannot evict an idea, Mike Garcia, president of SEIU United Service Workers West, said in a statement. You cannot evict a movement. Now is the time to expand Occupy L.A. beyond City Hall.
About 1,400 police officers surrounded the Occupy LA encampment near City Hall shortly after midnight Wednesday in an effort to evict protestors from the area. Authorities quickly established a perimeter and were able to control the operation to shut down the two-month-old camp.
That was the hardest part, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck told the LA Times. That first contact: You learn if your officers are going to break ranks and if people are going to get physical. It went as well as we could have expected.
More than 200 demonstrators were arrested, however most chose to leave on their own.
Demonstrators remained peacefully during the confrontation with police and eschewed violence. Most protestors either left on their own or submitted to arrest non-violently, though some taunted police and threw rocks.
Police did not use tear gas and largely avoided the violent outbreak that occurred in New York and Oakland raids. Police did, however, bring bomb-sniffing dogs and wore riot suits.
When five protestors scaled trees to escape arrest, police used cherry-pickers to pull them down.
The Los Angeles movement had one of the last large camps in the U.S., but by 2:45 a.m. Wednesday the area surrounding City Hall was largely deserted other than empty tents strewn across the ground and a few straggling protestors. No drugs or weapons were found during a search of the camp.