A man has breakfast at the Occupy LA site in front of City Hall in downtown Los Angeles, November 24, 2011. Protesters were warned they face eviction from the City Hall campground after talks on voluntary relocation collapsed. / FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
LOS ANGELES - Hundreds of Occupy Los Angeles protesters showed no sign they planned to move Sunday ahead of a city-imposed midnight deadline to abandon their encampment, saying they would instead hold an "eviction block party."
Although city officials have told demonstrators they must leave the weeks-old protest site and take their nearly 500 tents with them by 12:01 a.m. Monday, just a handful were seen packing up Sunday.
Meanwhile, a deadline set by the city for Occupy Philadelphia to leave the site where it has camped for some two months passed without scuffles or arrests Sunday as police watched and protesters sang and spoke of their dreams while some prepared for the possibility of arrest.
The scene outside City Hall was far different from encampments in other cities where pepper spray, tear gas and police action resulted 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.
Occupy Philadelphia has managed to avoid aggressive confrontations so far, and on Sunday night there was hope the City of Brotherly Love would continue to be largely violence-free.
"Right now, we have a peaceful demonstration," said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Joe Sullivan, nearly 45 minutes after the 5 p.m. deadline. By 11 p.m., the crowd had thinned a bit, but the calm remained.
In Los Angeles, some passed out fliers containing the city 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."
"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 as he helped a friend break down her tent. "And I'm going to be doing as much as I can to stop violence."
He said he had turned his own tent into a "non-violent booby trap" by filling it with sandbags to make it tough to tear down.
"We can't beat the LAPD, but we can make it difficult for them to do their job, and have fun while we're doing it," Masterson said.
Villaraigosa issued a statement a few hours before the deadline Sunday night, outlining the city's plan and his hopes for a "spirit of cooperation."
He said that even after the park's official closure police "will allow campers ample time to remove their belongings peacefully and without disruption."
Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart drew a crowd in Los Angeles as he stood on the City Hall steps and argued with protesters on topics like Bank of America and Warren Buffett.
In Philadelphia, along the steps leading into a plaza, about 50 people sat in lines with the promise that they would not leave unless they were carried out by authorities. For a time, they linked arms. But as it seemed that a forceful ouster was not imminent, they relaxed a bit. A police presence was heavier than usual but no orders to leave had been issued.
A few dozen tents remained scattered on the plaza, along with trash, piles of dirty blankets and numerous signs reading, "You can't evict an idea."