Occupy LA Protesters Defy Deadline to Vacate

Jason Redmond/AP Photo

Occupy Los Angeles protesters stayed on past a midnight deadline to vacate their encampment, refusing to leave the grounds of City Hall.  An LAPD commander told the Los Angeles Times  Monday the deadline for arresting Occupy L.A. protesters still on the streets has been postponed until 4:30 a.m.

Los Angeles Police Department officers in riot gear moved into the Occupy LA area overnight, while protestors spilled onto the street, having ignored police requests to move onto the sidewalk. The crowd was estimated between 1,000-2,000 demonstrators just after midnight PT.

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

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said that police will not immediately make arrests in order 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.

Police Chief Charlie Beck said that authorities expect to eventually make arrests, according to ABC News affiliate KABC.

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