LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Roughly 1,400 LAPD officers swarmed through the “Occupy LA” encampment at City Hall Wednesday morning, arresting demonstrators and removing their tents.
At least 292 protesters will now face misdemeanor charges of failing to disperse for ignoring the city’s eviction deadline on Monday. Some protesters who left willingly have found a new home outside Our Lady Queen of Angels Church.
Officers, who say the arrests were mostly peaceful, removed the final protesters from a tree house in the park just before dawn.
“We basically sectored off the south end of the park into different sections and we had officers respond quickly to each of those sections,” Cmdr. Andrew Smith told CBS2. “That prevented the people who were here from gathering up into any big groups where they could take us on, throw rocks or anything like that.”
Most of the men have been taken to Men’s Central Jail, while women are being processed at a facility in Van Nuys. During a morning news conference, “Occupy LA” leaders called on the mayor to release protesters without bail.
Authorities say it’s unclear how long the booking process will take, but arraignments could flood court system.
The park, which is now closed, has been deemed a hazard. K-rail has been put up as Hazmat crews sort through trash and belongings.
Protesters were asked to take anything of value with them, but workers are collecting anything that was left behind, which will be returned.
CBS2’s Kara Finnstrom talked to a worker who said the park was full of wet clothing and old food.
“There were a lot of reports of staph infections and lice and things like that, so we just want to protect ourselves as best we can,” he said. “We don’t want to breathe anything that’s going to make us sick.”
Officials are concerned about the cost of repairing the irrigation system at City Hall, which would help repair the grass. The mayor says the movement has cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.