Govt. to Find Housing for Homeless Occupy Los Angeles Protesters

PHOTO: An eviction notice sign posted at the Occupy LA encampment on the grounds of Los Angeles City Hall.
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Occupy protesters in Los Angeles and Philadelphia stayed on past deadlines to vacate their respective encampments as officials backed away from plans to eject the tent cities that have sprung up to spotlight what the group calls economic injustices.

In Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said that police will not immediately make arrests to provide time for protesters to leave. "[The city] will allow campers ample time to remove their belongings peacefully and without disruption," Villaraigosa said in a statement just after midnight Monday.

Andy Smith, a commander for the LAPD, told ABC News that city officials have been trying to find alternative housing for the protesters who are homeless.

"We'll do everything we can to get them alternative housing, but eventually they'll have to go. We have social workers that are going through the encampment now and they're working on finding housing for anyone there who is truly homeless," said Smith. "Were hoping that they evict themselves and eventually find a different way of protesting."

"I think everybody knows that they need to go. I'd be surprised if we're still having this conversation in two weeks. We don't want to give a timeline, we don't want to say we're kicking people out on a certain date, but we may have to," Smith added.

Last night, the crowd was estimated between 1,000-2,000 demonstrators just after midnight PT. Many of those people were sightseers, and as the night wore on, the crowd diminished.

Overnight, protesters spilled onto 1st Street, one of the main thoroughfares in downtown Los Angeles.

Protesters have been camped out near City Hall for almost two months. Villaraigosa ordered the protesters to vacate by midnight last night, but police announced overnight that they would not clear the park where protesters have set up about 485 tents.

Police did request that the crowd move off the street and onto the sidewalk so as not to block the morning rush hour traffic. Protesters ignored police requests, and at least four were arrested and taken away in handcuffs. Protests were mainly peaceful, and no injuries were reported.

Around 5 a.m., Los Angeles Police Department officers in riot gear pushed people back onto the sidewalk. There was a standoff for about an hour to see if people would try to move onto the street, but they did not.

Hundreds of protesters still remain with their tents and belongings, carrying signs and chanting, making it clear that they have no intention of moving out of the park any time soon.

A celebratory atmosphere filled the area, with protesters milling about, cyclists riding around the block and chants led with a bullhorn.

"The best way to keep a non-violent movement non-violent is to throw a party, and keep it festive and atmospheric," Brian Masterson, one of the demonstrators, told The Associated Press.

Some protesters handed out fliers with the Los Angeles 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," scheduled for 12:01 a.m.

Occupy L.A. protesters said they'll be moving to the Ports of Los Angeles Dec. 12, KABC reported.

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