According to KTLA, broadcasting live at 10:25pm in Los Angeles, the LAPD is on citywide tactical alert, with rapid response teams and hundreds of officers in downtown Los Angeles. Non-lethal “stinger balls” were fired at protestors, reported to be from Occupy LA. An LAPD officer was injured, a suspect captured, and hundreds of protestors and just folks driven from the Art Walk area.
There were numerous arrests, KTLA says that bottles have been thrown. (You can read KTLA’s account and see their video here.)
This action was to be people chalking the sidewalks and in the street, according to Occupy Los Angeles’ Facebook.
“Tonight, #ArtWalk in #DTLA becomes #ChalkWalk! Occupy Los Angeles has had a laughably ridiculous 12 arrests the past 6 weeks for children’s sidewalk chalk. Tonight from 7-9pm, occupiers, artists, enthusiasts, rebels, and the intrigued will defend the First Amendment and freedom of speech.”
Using washable chalk on the sidewalk is not in and of itself a crime. Blocking sidewalk is the issue.
Downtown Art Walk draws thousands of people to check out galleries and socialize, and many of them were just hanging out during the protest to see what wass going on. Live video from KTLA anbd a photo on qmanhellerman’s photostream shows chalking in the streets (including some suggestions to commit certain Anglo-Saxon verbs on the police) and people sitting in the street.
More from Facebook:
[Live!] LAPD taking care of crime? Chalking is NOT a crime! Be our eyes and ears tonight! Watch us Live! -GR
[Live] Children & young people yelling at LAPD to go away. Even children know more about our rights than them. Please be our eyes & tonight!
Watch us Live or get down to DTLA and support us!-GR
[Live] People now filling the streets as LAPD in tactical gear are putting on facemasks and look like theyre moving in. Crowds chanting “Whose streets! Our Streets!” -GR
[Live]Thousands in the streets now, still no dispersal order, cops have leathal weapons, the people chanting “Show me what a police state looks like, this is what a police state looks like!”
Watch Live: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/pmbeers
[La Figa note: That Livestream is down at press time; try this Global Revolution link]
[Live]We Need Medics on the ground! This is an emergency. People bleeding from rubber bullet shot. -GR
From the news media: There have been dispersal orders, but the LAPD is allowing the media to stay within 40 feet of police at all times. KNBC reports that bottles were thrown at their news vans and some protestors tried to climb onto the news vans. A police vehicle was also vandalized. The reporter added
In all fairness, some protestors were calling out others to stop throwing rocks and bottles.
These photos from my TV show the police in stand off mode and one bystander who said he was just walking down the street when he was hit by a rubber bullet. Occupy LA, per KNBC, says they will try to spend the night. There are currently more officers than protestors, per KNBC’s 11pm broadcast.
Officer Karen Rayner from the LAPD called into KNBC to report that at least one officer was injured, struck by a skate board. There was no official arrest count at press time. Officer Rayner says that incident began at 8:40pm when protestors started blocking the intersections during Art Walk.
The monthly Art Walk is when the majority of downtown businesses, which are locally owned, experience a huge upsurge of customers; one business owner told me that he and other small businesses depend on Art Walk, since it’s when thousands of Angelenos come to Downtown. It’s also when dozens of locals artists get the opportunity to show and sell their work. Art Walk has experienced some troubles in the past–public intoxication, crowds spilling into the streets; and a death when a car jumped the curb, striking and killing an infant. Local merchants, artists and residents have worked hard to make Art Walk a success after every setback, and it is a treasured event, one of the few places where people from all over the city mix and mingle. You can hear the subtle thought process:
This is why we can’t have nice things.
At 11:27, KNBC says the police are reopening Spring Street, and situation is over, but it remains fluid. Occupy LA says, per KNBC, that they will be back tomorrow.
Update from eyewitness Eric Copeland via my Facebook page:
news stations came late to the party and all got their info from the police spokeperson. police gradually increased tension – first by slowing traffic with orange cones and dozens of police cars and motorcycles, then bringing in riot squads, then moving people around, then pushing people, then clubbing people, and finally firing rubber bullets. most all civilians were artwalk attendees. sick stuff. reminded me of the old police incited punk confrontations. no cops = no problems! the great chalk riots of 2012! so shameful those chalk games of tic-tac-toe on the street. sorry, but if “occupy” is trying to claim credit they are deluding themselves. i was right on 5th and spring. people ignored the guy on the megaphone. artwalkers were intrigued, then bothered by the police actions – not rallied to action by politicos.
UPDATE: Twenty arrests per KTLA, 19 according to LA Times; four officers injured, one with a concussion.
From a friend attending artwalk via my Facebook:
The cones and dozens of bike cops had been dispatched by the time we left at 9. The occupy protectors were making a big scene from early, maybe 7, over (at that time) two people who had been arrested for chalking. So then they handed out more chalk. Self-fulfilling prophecy, I say.
The Livestream is back up http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/23953533. From Occupy LA’s Facebook:
ABC 7 tried to block the livestream around the 13 mark and fights with livestreamer.
Shot fired around 14 min mark.
And another photo of an injured civilian form Occupy LA’s Facebook