Occupy Los Angeles: Hundreds of Protesters Planning to Defy Midnight Eviction
Hundreds of Occupy Los Angeles demonstrators are planning to defy a midnight deadline to abandon their protest, instead choosing to take part in an "eviction block party."
Although city officials have told protesters they must leave and take their nearly 500 tents with them by 12:01 a.m. Monday, just a handful were seen packing up Sunday, the Associated Press reported.
Instead, some passed out fliers containing the city seal and the words: "By order of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, this notice terminates your tenancy and requires you to attend the Occupy L.A. Eviction Block Party," which the fliers' said was scheduled for 12:01 a.m.
Others attended teach-ins on resistance tactics, including how to stay safe should police begin firing rubber bullets or breaking out tear gas canisters and pepper spray.
"Their plan is to resist the closure of this encampment and if that means getting arrested so be it," Will Picard, one of the protesters, told the AP. "I think they just want to make the police tear it down rather than tear it down themselves."
Police have said little about what tactic they would take if protesters ignore the deadline, though they are expecting to have to make arrests.
While the mayor, a former labor organizer himself, has said he sympathizes with the movement, he added it's time to close the encampment of some 500 tents that dot the lawn in front of City Hall for the sake of public health and safety.
The 2-month-old movement is also at a crossroads, Villaraigosa said, and must "move from holding a particular patch of park to spreading the message of economic justice."
The Occupy movement protesting corporate greed started in September on Wall Street and has since moved to other cities in the U.S., including Los Angeles, as well as in other countries.
Many in Hollywood have expressed their support of the movement and made appearances at various demonstrations, including Michael Moore, Russell Simmons, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Susan Sarandon and Mark Ruffalo.
The AP contributed to this report.