LOS ANGELES (AP) — Deadlines for Wall Street protesters to leave their encampments came and went in two cities with no arrests in Philadelphia and a festive, party-like atmosphere as protesters in Los Angeles defied the order clear out early Monday.
Protesters defied the mayor’s deadline to vacate their encampment near City Hall in Los Angeles, with about 1,000 flooding into the area as hundreds of tents remained standing as they have for nearly two months.
A celebratory atmosphere filled the night with protesters milling about the park and streets by City Hall in seeming good spirits. A group on bicycles circled the block, one of them in a cow suit. Organizers led chants with a bull horn.
“The best way to keep a non-violent movement non-violent is to throw a party, and keep it festive and atmospheric,” said Brian Masterson.
Police presence was slight right after the 12:01 a.m. PST Monday deadline, but it began increasing as the morning wore on. At the same time, the number of protesters dwindled.
“People have been pretty cooperative tonight. We want to keep it peaceful,” police Cmdr. Andrew Smith told The Associated Press.
He refused to discuss how or when police will move to clear the park, but he said: “We’re going to do this as gently as we possibly can. Our goal is not to have anybody arrested. Our goal is not to have to use force.”
A deadline set by the city for Occupy Philadelphia to leave the site where it has camped for nearly two months passed Sunday without any arrests.
The reactions to the expired deadlines in Los Angeles and Philadelphia were far different from those in other cities in recent weeks, where pepper spray, tear gas and police action have been used in the removal of long-situated demonstrators since the movement against economic disparity and perceived corporate greed began with Occupy Wall Street in Manhattan two months ago.
Dozens of tents remained at the encampment outside Philadelphia’s City Hall Monday morning, twelve hours after a city-imposed deadline passed for the protesters to move to make way for a construction project.