Protesters began moving onto the City Hall park on October 1, and within weeks the encampment had grown to include as many as 500 tents, with between 700 to 800 full-time residents.
That number had diminished after Villaraigosa said last week that he wanted protesters to pack up their tents and other belongings and clear out by Monday or face forcible removal.
Since the eviction deadline passed, the status of the camp had remained in limbo. Attorneys for Occupy LA asked a federal judge for a court order barring police from shutting it down, arguing city officials had violated their civil rights by ordering the camp dismantled. The judge has made no ruling.
Villaraigosa issued his eviction notice last Friday after talks on a plan to induce the protesters to leave voluntarily collapsed, setting the stage for the latest showdown between leaders of a major U.S. city and the Occupy movement.
The mayor has promised to find alternative shelter for homeless people who had taken up residence at City Hall and were estimated to account for at least a third of those camped there.