Occupy Los Angeles Fights Court Battle to Keep Camp

A civil rights complaint filed by Occupy Los Angeles Monday seeks to keep police from evicting the occupation from its home on the south lawn of City Hall.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa set a deadline of 12:01 AM Monday for the occupiers to disband, but the presence of thousands of supporters kept police from carrying out the order. Now, the complaint filed in the name of three occupiers hopes to secure the space more permanently.

The attempt to evict the occupation is an “unconstitutional deprivation of access to a traditional public forum,” says the complaint, which notes that the mayor is in violation of the First and Fourth Amendments.

The Los Angeles City Council initially passed a resolution allowing Occupy LA to remain on the lawn despite the city's ban on overnight camping, and the complaint also contends that Villaraigosa went above the City Council's authority when he called for the camp to be disbanded on Monday.

The lawsuit is being put forward by five individuals involved in Occupy LA, including a preschool teacher.

This is not the first time that the City Council has made an exception for its anti-camping provision; other instances included opening a park for free medical services and allowing about 500 fans of the movie “Twilight” to camp out to be first in line for the premiere of the sequel.

Chief Deputy City Atty. William Carter said the city attorney's office was reviewing the complaint and was prepared to respond if necessary, and the city is also considering submitting a letter from the general manager of the Department of Recreation and Parks, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Meanwhile, Occupy LA continues to rally protesters, fighting the eviction order both in the streets and in the courtroom.

Also, see this video report from The Associated Press: