Occupy L.A. Protestors Ask Federal Judge to Stop Their Eviction

Tuesday, 29 Nov 2011 11:41 AM

By James Hirsen

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Attorneys representing the Occupy L.A. protesters have filed legal documents seeking a ruling from a federal judge that will stop police from dismantling the group’s campsite near Los Angeles City Hall.

The protesters are claiming that the city has violated their civil rights by ordering the clearing of their temporary shelters. In addition, they are asserting that the location on the south lawn of City Hall is a public forum for First Amendment expression.

According to the court papers, the city of Los Angeles engaged in “arbitrary and capricious action” when it approved “the Occupy L.A. camp for 56 days before suddenly revoking permission.”

Occupy L.A. lawyers also claim that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's order to shut down the protest violated a City Council resolution adopted in October that demonstrated support for the encampment.

“There is no doubt that the council was approving camping on the City Hall lawn as part of OLA's exercise of their First Amendment Rights,” the court papers read.

Villaraigosa cited the protestor’s success in changing the nation's political conversation to include the issue of economic disparity. The mayor did, however, reiterate that due to concerns over public health and safety, the camp was not sustainable in the long run.

No hearing date has been set yet for the Occupy L.A. petition, and the city has not initiated any action to clear the protestors.

“At this point, nothing has changed. There's been no federal or state court action that would prohibit LAPD from enforcing existing law, including requesting the occupants of the encampment to clear the park after 10:30 p.m.,” Chief Deputy City Attorney Bill Carter said.

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