Occupy LA Opposition Grows Louder: Senator Dianne Feinstein & Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Speak Out
The Occupy LA movement has released an official statement in response to reports that Senator Dianne Feinstein and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa have expressed concern about the length of their stay on the Los Angeles city hall lawn.
The protesters reiterated their thanks to city officials and law enforcement, who, throughout the "occupation," have decided to officially support the movement and stop enforcing an ordinance that restricts public assembly on the lawn between certain hours. Occupy LA issued a response, which their press contact requested be published in full:
We have enjoyed a very good relationship with the City of Los Angeles, whose council 2 weeks ago announced their support for Occupy LA. As recently as this morning, Councilman Rosendahl reconfirmed his support of the occupiers. We sincerely hope that a positive working relationship between city officials and the LAPD continues.
We appreciate Mayor Villaraigosa's statement of respect and Senator Feinstein for acknowledging our first amendment rights. Regarding the perceived lack of focus: Our actions are governed by a democratic process and we go through process to gain consensus. This can sometimes be lengthy, but we are determined that, as representatives of the 99%, all voices are heard and considered. There is an ongoing process to create solutions to the economic, social and environmental concerns of the occupation. All city and state officials, as well as interested general public, are openly invited to these General Assembly meetings held nightly.
As for a time stamp on our departure, there is none. We are resolved to continue our peaceful occupation. As occupiers across America are bravely and against great odds and obstacles exercising the right to have their voices heard in a public forum, we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters around this nation and around the globe.
On Wednesday, both Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had joined Los Angeles city council member Bill Rosendahl in raising concerns about the protester's weeks-long occupation of LA's city hall, reports the Los Angeles Times.
At a public event in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Senator Dianne Feinstein observed that it was difficult to discern the Occupy movement's goals and said, "I don't think people, for example, can sleep in a square for weeks on end. You have to have some order to it," reports the Los Angeles Times. She was also quoted as saying that the protesters don't have the right to "occupy forever."
In a separate interview with the Los Angeles Times, Mayor Villaraigosa said that while he respects the protesters' right to exercise their free speech and assembly rights, he also thinks that the encampment "cannot continue indefinitely." The Occupy LA movement began on October 1 of this year.
Villaraigosa also echoed city Councilmember Bill Rosendahl's concern for the health of the lawn and the trees outside City Hall. In an interview with ABC 7 on Tuesday, Rosendahl had said, "the trees are in the process of being impacted. The grass is being impacted. Other activities that we need to do on the lawns are being put on the back burner."
See photos of the Occupy LA encampment facing another rainy day on Tuesday. All images by the Associated Press.