Occupy LA, LAPD Clash at Downtown Art Walk, Non-Lethal Weapons Fired, Arrests

 

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.

Streams-
http://occupystream.com/

And another photo of an injured civilian form Occupy LA’s Facebook

Occupy’s Rose Parade Octopus Floats Down the Street Tomorrow!

 

It’s really freaky to wake up New Year’s Day and not have the Rose Parade on because it’s a Sunday. Oh the tyranny of religion, which also interfered with my ability to grocery shop on December 25. And seriously, on  Christmas Day, there’s always something you need at the last minute–duck fat, crème fraîche, hot glue gun–you know stuff the 7/11 or liquor store  doesn’t stock. Heck, our local Sev doesn’t even have beer or wine, making Liquor-a-Go-Go or the ever popular Pink Elephant (they deliver and sadly know us by name and that we always need ice) a holiday necessity.

But no Rose Parade on New Year’s Day makes those suffering hangovers (happily, I am not amongst that number) bereft of queasy amusement. Ditto on the Bowl Games, though those always give me a headache, no matter how little Dom has whetted my appetite.

But the high point of tomorrow will not be the Rose Parade itself, but rather the after-march (usually the refuge of the religious groups–the parade is secular) when Occupy Los Angeles will prance its 70-person manned puppet, an octopus made from plastic bags, down the parade route. Let’s hope the cameras stay on it–though with the parade being Monday with a heavy load of local news shows, it’s more than likely Occupy’s statement will make it on air, live or not.

Occupy LA: Reports of LAPD Violence

Josh’s hand, hit by rifle-fired projectile. This photo was taken at 3:50 am Wednesday on Main Street about a block south of La Placita Queen of Angels Church. A man with him who declined to be named or photographed had been struck in the face with a police baton; there was slight swelling around his mouth, and the inside of his lip was broken. He told me

I forgive the cop, I forgive him.

Josh had been in City Hall Park when the dispersal order came. He and his friends told me an office called out

Hey you!

and Josh turned, pointing at himself as if to ask,

Who me?

and was struck in the wrist by an LAPD projectile fired from a green shotgun at a distance of about 30 feet away. He was triaged by roaming medics once he left the park, and had an ice pack on his wrist. He could move his fingers slightly.

About 45 minutes later he walked into the parking lot of La Placita Queen of Angels. I had already spoken with one of the legal observers from Peace in Harmony about him, and pointed him out to the medics when he arrived to get him a fresh ice pack before he spoke with the legal observer (LO). His hand had swollen considerably, but he was still able to move his fingers and asked for a cigarette before talking with the LO. He was sleeping in the medic tent when the National Lawyers Guild arrived from the park. I provided these photos to the NLG rep.

Ruth Fowler wrote on Occupy LA’s website:

No bad treatment of protestors occurred while the mainstream media was watching – it was only at the end that this occurred, when the non pool reporters were separated from the pool media, and the reporters not in the pool were shoved and hit by cops.

At this point I left, but other non-pool media refused to leave and wanted to stay reporting on the scene. Jared Iorio, our photographer, stayed for fifteen minutes after me and was hit twice in the chest with a baton by a policeman until he left Solidarity Park…

She goes on to say that after leaving the park and assembling on Los Angeles Street:

We were blocked (kettled) in on Alameda between second and first. The police started running towards us – the group was now about 100 people by this point – and everyone ran into a parking lot to escape. The police ran after them and started beating protestors with batons repeatedly as they were running away trying to escape. I saw about ten police hit protestors. I did not get video footage nor photographs as I was running…

This media pool drew mainstream media into the inner circle, where they were treated to a display of courteous policing and nonviolence by the police. Even I was impressed by the police. The operation was smooth and efficient and tactical.

Then the pool media was divided from the regular media, and kept in the inner circle. They were not present to witness the brutality and violence enacted by LAPD officers who were kettling and running after protestors in order to beat them outside the park and mainstream media attention. LAPD smoothly kept MSM from witnessing this, and tried to control other media by constant kettling and dividing of the crowd.

Occupy LA: LAPD Limits Media Access

Monday night at 7:15 PT, the Los Angeles Police Department held a lottery to decide which media could be credentialed for the LAPD Occupy LA media pool, in anticipation of the next raid. According to a mainstream media source who was there, the LAPD only wanted to allow one media outlet per medium (print, radio, television), but was persuaded to allow three of each:

the only media eligible for pool were those who were on the LAPD press release list and able to get to headquarters with an hour’s notice. So very few were represented at the meeting. I asked about independent radio/blogs and they said that only media with LAPD-issued badges would be allowed in the vicinity. I asked about those already at the camp, and they said after the unlawful assembly order everyone who doesn’t leave will be arrested, even those who are journalists. Our attorney was looking into whether there were legal challenges to be made.

No independent/citizen media was in the grab bag of media outlets selected. The LAPD Media Relations Department declined to tell me who was in the media pool, saying it was not for publication. Someone had called earlier and had been given the names and told the POI officer that they would not guarantee non-publication, so the officer was very wary. Why doesn’t the LAPD want that information released?

However a media source not in the pool relayed to me:

ABC, NBC and AP Video are the pool.

A print media source whose outlet is in the pool told me that Reuters, the LA Times (whose offices are across the street from Occupy LA, and would likely be within the LAPD’s perimeter, so they sort of have to be included) and

I think, the Daily News.

The source told me his/her employers were consulting with their attorneys and with the LAPD about the police department’s

restrictions on how we would be operating.

He/she said that each outlet is allowed one reporter who must be designated in advance. There is a separate pool for photographers.

There is concern from media that the LAPD may want to review material before publication or broadcast.

Under the LAPD’s guidelines, the OccupyLA media team–which includes photographers, videographers, livestreamers and reporters–is not credentialed.

There is no Spanish-language media in the pool in a city where 4.7 million people are Spanish speaking. As Monday morning’s midnight-plus-one deadline drew near, there were news crews from the BBC and a Tokyo station present, as well as KMEX (Spanish language). I saw KTLA which was live streaming and had a helicopter overhead, KNBC, KABC, KCBS/KCAL and stringers in unmarked vans. Reporters I ran into included ones from the LA Times and USC’s Daily Trojan, and dozens of people live streaming and taking pictures for blogs and independent media. Oh and Andrew Breitbart was there talking to some dudes with scarves over their faces.

The media presence played a huge part in keeping things nice Monday morning. When Occupy chanted

The whole world is watching

they were pretty close to the truth. The revolution is being televised. And if it weren’t being beamed into TV and computers around the globe, would the LAPD have acted with such restraint? One would like to think so, but odds are maybe not so much.

Breitbart photo: Linda Patron, used with permission

Note: Keven Gosztola will be live blogging events through the night, so tune in at The Dissenter for updates.

Occupy LA: Love is the Law

 

Wow. Wow. I was at Occupy LA from 11 pm until 6:30am, I and at one point 1,000 other people. It was intense, with the air of  macabre carnival. People wandered, chanted, danced, drummed, smoked, and om’ed as the midnight-plus one minute deadline was counted down. Across the street, in front of LAPD headquarters on 1st St from Main to Spring cops lined the street. A friend was texting me live updates from KTLA.com’s video stream, including notification of a city wide tactical alert.

One man built a tree fort in a banana grove next to the Spring Street steps, while others positioned themselves up trees or around the symbolic tent draped with an America flag. The tent encirclers had decided to be arrested and were linking arms and chanting. Others were prepared for the worst (even we had vinegar soaked cloths and a bottle of Maalox and water). Some of the people we knew left at 1am, as did many in the crowd which thinned out by 2 am, but we decided to stick around. We mapped out our safety routes for escape if necessary.  An announcement was made that the Mayor had told the police to hold back as there were still hundreds of people (and, unspoken, news media!) present.

Fourteen officers of the LAPD were at Temple and Main while a sparse group of protestors sat in the crosswalk. My friend Ava and I walked over to talk with them.  They were really cheerful and nice, usually based out of (South) Central.  One joked about being a geek who liked to hike and read books, and I said I try to avoid the evil, yellow hurty thing.

You mean the sun, me too, that’s why I work at night. Hey, occupy the sun!

he laughed.  The larger mass of police at Spring and 1st were grimmer, though one laughed at my my Hello Kitty iPhone cover. The drummer circle was there, as was a protestor reading a declaration from Occupy about why they were there, while the human mic repeated it (some cops looked visibly uncomfortable when they heard the portion on Constitutional rights read, followed by an explanation of corporate and mortgage malfeasance.

Clark Davis, an Occupy camper from the start was in contact with the LAPD and spoke repeatedly with LAPD Commander Andrew Smith (in charge of all of Occupy operation for LAPD) and the commanding officer in charge of the  massive force of LAPD in riot helmets with batons and green shotguns (bean bags! fun!) at 1st and Main. Clark and Commander Smith walked to 1st and Spring and asked people to please move into the park, which worked at that intersection.  However many many people remained at 1st and Main, some taunted the cops, all refusing to move back. The Channel 2 camera man told his reporter while I was joking with him (“It’s not what you say, but how good you look saying it”) that the SWAT team had arrived. The word was that at 4am LAPD would clear the streets. They asked nicely for people to move back.

Suddenly, cops surged forward and people ran for the park, it was gnarly, and scary. The cops stood their ground then stepped back. And people being people, they moved back into the street. Then came the official order for dispersal, the one where they cite the state code and state that they have the right to use force, including chemical weapons and which could result in injury, and that everyone including media needed to get on the sidewalks or be arrested. Everyone complied and the police asked people to move back into the park to accommodate those moving on to the sidewalk. The megaphone officer assured us that people in the park would not be arrested or removed. All but one person complied and he was taken away.

The police stepped up to the boundary of the park and things were a bit tense. Then a skirmish started, as a bottle and one of the long bamboo sticks carried by some of the park dudes were thrown! The cops quickly pulled three people from the crowd and took them away. That was it. That’s all they did–arrest the troublemakers! Wow.

Lines of police filled the block from 1st to 2nd on Main.  It was tense.  An announcement was made that the street needed to be opened for traffic, people had to get to work. Occupiers and supporters stayed put, chanting

Stay on the sidewalk! Stay on the sidewalk!

The police took giant steps backwards, the street was clear except for Juan, one of the wise elder homeless dudes who rode his brightly decorated bike in circles. the police did nothing. The Occupiers stayed on he sidewalks, the streets stayed clear; we were told we could cross on the lights, and obey the traffic laws as motorcycle police rode up and down, then began escorting traffic through. A cheer went up.   People were hugging and smiling and clapping.

It was miraculous, and I hope that spirit of community, or mutual respect, or restraint or whatever–LOVE–love of oneself, of one’s city, or one’s fellows can spread through Los Angeles’ police and community and become a model for both cops and civilians to work in cooperation to obey the laws and foster change.

Chief Beck was on the news today saying that the assembly in the park is a violation, but there is not a specific time to begin enforcing it. And at 8:30 this morning a judge began a hearing on an injunction filed over the weekend to prevent Occupy form being evicted. Meanwhile, plans are being made by Occupy to launch Occupy 2.o.

I have a doctors appt in 20 mins. Will post more photos and video when I get back.

Occupy LA: As Midnight Deadline Draws Near

The mood at City Hall is weird, a little spooky and tense, but also a a sense of  valor. People are expecting the cops to move anytime after midnight. Every local channel has news crews out, and  teevee news channel KTLA is giving OLA plenty of coverage.

Lots of clergy are present, and lots of civilians, over a thousand people are on the grounds, celebrating and feeling brave.  I was told by members of the Veterans Committee that there are more vets than ever before on the grounds, that they are their to protect the Constitutional rights of the Occupiers.

Some idiot of course has threatened violence showing a reporter one of his smoke bombs he plans to use against the LAPD, per KTLA’s 10pm news, and the reporter says that he felt obliged to tell the police, and that

The party is just getting started

The media tent has moved all their equipment out, but their tent is still up, as are many others. The food tent is serving food, and well, we’ll see. I’m heading back down now.

Occupy LA: Sunday Night Eviction, NOFX Plays Sunday at 3pm, Massive “Party” Called

Occupy LA has received their official, “Time To Go” notice from the city for midnight Monday morning, and many people, including the cops, the mayor, and the majority of Occupiers hope that whatever goes down doesn’t involve nasty gas, truncheons and/or rubber bullets.

But as usual, there is always some eejit or five who are itching for a fight. Occupy LA’s listserve–which is open to the public with nothing off the record–has some interesting correspondence.

One of the loudest voices in real life at the camp and online crying for Occupy LA revolution–let’s call him Che-Shirt–has basically said Occupy Los Angeles is a bunch of scaredy cats because they haven’t gotten tear-gassed or beaten like comrades in Oakland and Wall Street, and on Friday announced proudly:

Solidarity with Oakland tonight, who are sending down many I know of to help us with the raid/reoccupation.

Che-Shirt however is disinclined to get arrested himself because he has been to jail. Despite decrying leaders and patriarchy, he’d rather direct the action than participate in it.

Tomorrow, as a countdown to eviction the band NOFX is playing a free show and all of Los Angeles is invited down. This has its pros and cons, as you can imagine. Occupy LA is saying there is a chance the police will start barricading the streets at some point.

Meanwhile one lawyer has filed a federal injunction to prevent the eviction, though naming (former) police chief William Bratton in the paperwork is pretty fail. The National Lawyers Guild is seeking to file a temporary restraining order with the city, but there is some confusion about whether or not Occupy LA is still working them.

So tomorrow will be interesting. Monday day even more so.

Occupy LA: “Oh No! We Won’t Go!” Mayor Says “11/28 at 12:01am Park Will Be Shut Down”

In their official statement below, Occupy Los Angeles has declared they will not leave City Hall. And they state:

All forms of weaponry used by multiple law enforcement officials – including, but not limited, to rubber bullets, pepper spray, verbal abuse, arrest, foam batons, tear gas, long-range acoustic devices and more – are not to be used on those exercising their First Amendment Rights to petition our government for redress of grievances.

At a press conference this afternoon broadcast live on ABC 7 (a truncated version here), Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said:

The Occupy encampments have changed the one-sided conversation, the movement has awakened the country’s conscience…After this initial success the movement is now at cross roads. It is time for Occupy LA to movement from this piece of parkland.

He cited public health, public safety and the security of encampment, emphasizing:

It is time to close the park and restore this to a public park.

Responding to a mic check reading of a portion of the statement below, Villaraigosa pointed out that he gave nine acres of city land in Watts as a community garden when the South Central Garden was shut down. He then announced that

at 12:01 Monday morning, November 28 the law would be enforced,

and that the police are prepared to make arrests, but that is not the intent, as the city is providing time and advance notice, as well as fifty beds for the homeless. Villaraigosa went on to say that workers from general services would be passing out bilingual fliers and that social workers are working with the Occupiers to fill the shelter beds for homeless, while nearby parking would be available for those who are moving. He said the city wants to

Honor the spirit of free expression and keep Spring Street steps open during the park rehab for free speech so participants of Occupy and all other Angelenos will have access to this vital free speech spot.

He praised Occupy, urging peace and and praising the social justice of Occupy hoping that the movement will create an environment so

all fellow residents can use their God given right to achieve.

Chief Beck then spoke:

Occupy protestors have been law abiding, respectful by and large for 56 days.

He said that the police had not enforced city laws regarding the park and now it was time to go, adding that it was not sustainable in terms of public safety and health

This doesn’t mean the Occupy message will end. The steps are available. It’s time to grow the message in different medium.

Beck says the order doesn’t mean the LAPD will necessarily physically remove people, but they will enforce the law. He said they are giving ample time for people to move their stuff, clear tents and take property off lawn. The homeless will get every opportunity to take advantage of fifty beds, followed by fifty more later in the week. He stated:

If we make arrests it will be the people who won’t go, not the people who haven’t had time to go.

Villaraigos spoke again, stating:

The goal is to make this as peaceably as possible and to honor the experience we have had here. We are going to this is a way that is respectful.

When asked by a reporter why the protesters had been allow to stay so long, Chief Beck responded:

This is a national movement which the City of Los Angeles wanted to accommodate. They have had fifty-six days to put forth messages in a public park, which by the way, no one else has been able to use.

Villaraigosa then said

This is a collective decision, a decision I made talking with the Chief, General Services and others…I take full responsibility.

A representative of the OLA Kids’ Camp expressed concern that it might take them longer to get all their toys, supplies and other items together, so they may not be able to get out at 12:01 am, that it might take them 72 hours, and that they didn’t want to be involved in any violence because there were children in the camp. Beck replied that he understood and if officers saw a reasonable amount of effort to move, things would be fine:

This has been a peaceful movement. That has been mutual, it is important that we show that the City of LA knows how to do this, and realizes importance of the First Amendment.

Beck refused to to rise to the bait of some reporters who wanted to know what exactly the police would do. Both officials were mic checked and portions of the GA statement read.

Here’s the full text of Occupy Los Angeles’ statement:

Assembly-authored City response

Written on 11/24/2011 by in Past, Proposal

MODIFIED, CONSENTED TO VERSION

Type: Public Statement

Proposed by: The Los Angeles General Assembly

History: passed with full consensus at GA on Wednesday 11/23/2011. The language, ideas and grievances contained herein were culled from the minutes of 2 special City Liaison Committee Meetings, 2 General Assemblies devoted to the issue, one meeting with the Demands & Objectives Committee, consultation with Media and PR, and widely circulated and amended by the online community of occupiers, and adapted into its current form by the General Assembly on 11/23/2011.

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY’S RESPONSE TO THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES

Para Todos Todo, Para Nosotros Nada: For Everyone, Everything, For Us, Nothing

(This group-authored response to be read tonight at General Assembly by The Occupiers. If consented upon, this response is to be disseminated as a press release, and ‘mic-checked’, in person, by the Occupiers themselves, on Tuesday 29th November 2011 [wrongly read as Monday 28th November at GA] in the City Council Meeting of that date)

As a collective, Occupy Los Angeles would like to express their rejection of the City of Los Angeles’ alleged proposal that we leave City Hall by November 28th, 2011, in exchange for an apparently now rescinded offer of a 10,000 square foot building, farmland and 100 SRO beds for the homeless.

Occupy Los Angeles believes that as part of a global movement advocating direct, participatory democracy, and challenging economic and social injustices, our position is such that we cannot, in all good faith, accept further material benefit from City Hall at the taxpayer’s expense without seriously compromising our beliefs, our desire for global change, and our commitment to our inherent human rights to free speech and assembly protected in this country by First Amendment Rights. The 1 percent should be paying for any services used by the Occupy Movement, not taxpayers.

In the spirit of inclusivity and transparency which is so dear to our movement, Occupy Los Angeles extends an invitation to Mayor Villaraigosa and the City Council to attend our General Assemblies at the City Hall Occupation if he wishes to discuss these and other matters in a direct, democratic and horizontal way. Mayor Villaraigosa must speak out against the violent actions towards our brothers and sisters, declare the actions of other cities to be unjust, and stand before us equally at a General Assembly. Occupy Los Angeles believes that until this happens, we should have no more closed-door discussions regarding our continuing occupation of City Hall.

The City Council – in line with government in general – is an authority which is more accountable to developers and corporations than the public. The very act of the Los Angeles City Council requesting the physical removal of Los Angeles Occupiers without redressing the grievances which were specifically referenced in the inclusion of our adopted ‘Declaration of the Occupation of New York City’, and in the City Council’s ’1st Amendment Rights / Occupy Los Angeles / Responsible Banking Resolution’ — is in effect supporting the removal of all Occupations from public space by any means. We cannot negotiate with such an institution without undermining our sister occupations across the globe who are suffering from oppressive force and attacks upon their inherent human rights to free speech and assembly, protected in this country under the First Amendment. We refer here to episodes in Oakland, Boston, New York, Portland, UC Davis and San Francisco, to name but a few. We refer to those further afield, in Tahrir Square in Egypt, in Madrid, Greece, London and more. Teargas, pepper spray, beatings, jail, suppression and intimidation have been used as a coercive method of silencing our movement and our desire for global change.

We reject outright the City’s attempts to lure us out of City Hall and into negotiations by offering us nebulous, non-transparent and unconfirmed offers which fail to even begin to address our local grievances. We will continue to occupy this space, in solidarity with our global movement, until the forces of the few are forced to capitulate to the power of the people.

When the following grievances have been addressed – grievances which we have agreed upon as a movement through our General Assembly as advancing our cause and providing for the people of Los Angeles – we as a movement will be happy to initiate dialogue with the Mayor and Los Angeles City Council. An office space of 10,000 square feet would not have addressed these grievances. While the grievances listed below are localized, we believe that they promote the underlying foundations and principles of our movement, which include, but are not limited to: providing for basic, fundamental and inalienable human rights such as shelter, food, healthcare, freedom of choice, sexual orientation, gender equality and education — and the right most paramount to a free and democratic society — the right to self-govern. Detailed demands which encompass our greater world view will be released at a later date by our Demands and Objectives Committee through the General Assembly.

GRIEVANCES NOT ADDRESSED

  1. A moratorium on all foreclosures in the City of Los Angeles. The City of Los Angeles to divest from all major banks, and money to be removed from politics.

  1. A citywide effort undertaken to solve the homelessness problem which has led to 18,000 homeless people sleeping on Skid Row every night. Rehabilitation and housing must be provided for all homeless people.

  1. South Central Farm to be returned to the same LA community from which it was taken, and all other vacant and distressed land be open for the community use, and money to the tune of 1 million dollars – taken from Skid Row and given to a multi-million dollar NFL firm – to be returned to Skid Row.

  2. Los Angeles to be declared a sanctuary city for the undocumented, deportations to be discontinued and cooperation with immigration authorities be ended – including the turning in of arrestees’ names to immigration authorities.

  3. All forms of weaponry used by multiple law enforcement officials – including, but not limited, to rubber bullets, pepper spray, verbal abuse, arrest, foam batons, tear gas, long-range acoustic devices and more – are not to be used on those exercising their First Amendment Rights to petition our government for redress of grievances. We do not accept interference with freedom of the press and the public to document police actions in public spaces. We will not tolerate brutality.

  4. We assert our right to an open plaza on the South Side of City Hall for people to peacefully assemble, voice grievances, speak freely, hold our General Assembly and come to the people’s consensus 24 hours a day if needed.

  5. The City of Los Angeles to pressure the State to start a convention, as provided for in the Constitution, to remove corporate personhood and money from politics at a national level.

  6. The City of Los Angeles to begin a dialogue at the State and Federal level on the issues of student debt and tuition hikes.

  7. No cutbacks in city services or attacks on the wages, work conditions and pensions of city employees.

  8. A world class transit system which addresses our debilitating traffic problem and restores the quality of life in Los Angeles.

We conclude, as a General Assembly, by hereby renaming City Hall Park -

SOLIDARITY PARK

—————————————————————————-

Mayor’s statement here.

Occupy LA: Mayor Villaraigosa Says “Out By Next Week!”

An aide to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa confirmed that the city will order Occupy LA to leave City Hall Park sometime next week after informing Occupy LA representatives and also Jim Lafferty of the National Lawyer’s Guild for Occupiers at City Hall that the order was coming down. Lafferty and the Occupiers walked out of the meeting with city officials when they were told that Occupy would be forced to move. Lafferty told the LA Times they:

walked out of the meeting in anger after the announcement and told city officials they “have not been operating with good faith.”…

Lafferty said the city had not given the liaisons enough time to discuss the offer with the protesters.”They are not willing to give us time to have that discussion,” Lafferty told the protesters. “”I said, ‘The democratic practice here may be slow but it is beautiful and it works.”"

Yesterday the Times reported that the city had offered to lease offices to Occupy LA for $1 and allow them to farm unused city land, an offer the city later wavered on. The offer would have had to have been approved by Occupy LA’s general assembly which could be a long process since many Occupiers are opposed to leaving the lawns around City Hall.

The city cites the need to water the huge, decades-old trees and re-seed the lawn as the reason for Occupy’s eviction. The trees have not been watered in weeks and are legitimately at risk.

Notes taken during the meeting between OLA, city officals and the LAPD show, Matt Szabo, a spokesperson for Villaraigosa saying:

Just came from meeting w/ boss, clear difficulties. We cannot refer to these as negotiations. This is a new situation. We’re trying to work together to best manage this for the city. We are working to secure your first amendment rights, but acknowledge that city hall park is an unsustainable situation

The decision-making and governing process is cumbersome

The mayor WILL CLOSE THE PARK NEXT WEEK

I do not know when that will be, but you will receive notice

The mayor will announce today that we will be making available at least 50, but as many will be required, homeless shelter beds

We’ll continue to be as open and honest as we can possibly be

Difficulty: we wanted to move this forward in a productive way… the issue of whether or not the park is open or closed is NOT A NEGOTIATION

The city has a right to close the park

Some would argue there is a responsibility to enforce the closing

All the issues we’ve been discussing are still on the table, but the closing of the park WILL HAPPEN

An OLA representatives responded that the SEIU will not be happy if Occupy is evicted:

Talked w/ SEIU, their message is that an injury to OLA is an injury to SEIU. If something happens to us, something will happen in the streets.

City officials say they will give 72 hours warning to Occupy to vacate. The Los Angeles Police Department will enforce the order.

The live feed from the General Assembly was down Wednesday night, but I will post the archive when it is available.

#N17 Marches, Good Jobs LA and Occupy LA: Actions and Arrests

Thursday, in two separate actions, several hundred people participated in a march organized by Good Jobs LA, with folks from Occupy LA, SEIU and citizens joining in as part of a general day of action to protest police actions in New York and elsewhere, and planned arrests went off without a hitch;  later in the afternoon, a large group from Occupy LA marched back to the Bank of America branch and some folks were arrested. There was no violence in either action.

Occupy LA at Bank of America, 11/17/2011 afternoon:

For the first march, 7am donuts, coffee, bananas and oatmeal bars were laid out for the protestors, news crews were in place and buses arrived with more people to join in. The Bureau of Street Services had closed off intersections and freeway off-ramps to accommodate the permitted march, and of course the LAPD was in place. This was a planned and permitted march which promised a banner hanging from an overpass and tents set up in an intersection, plus scheduled arrests! Wow, party!

 

The crowd warmed up for about half an hour with a drum trio and a rocking chant leader who rallied the crowd with

Tell me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!

Hola! Good job! LA!

Rebuild! LA

then the march began. As we turned a corner, Epic Fail Guy (aka Anonymous) and friends unfurled a huge banner reading

We Come In Peace

while dancing and posing. It was dramatic and goofy at the same time. EFG continued his frolicking on the other side of the building and mysteriously appeared on a flatbed truck with the chant leader at intersection of 4th and Figueroa where a huge banner guarded by sheriffs deputies hung from an overpass proclaiming

LA Needs Good Jobs

As promised, there was civil disobedience: Three tents were set up in the center of the intersection and twenty protesters with blue armbands circled holding hands. Eventually a lot of police showed up (it was kinda scary to see the really big schoolbus painted black with LAPD stenciled on it) with riot helmets and batons. But since there were no gas masks or shields, it was clear this was just crowd control.

Some, however, did have the latest fashion accessory, the “green gun” – a rifle with a green stock and strap which indicates it shoots rubber bullets. All of this was very structured. After we all got on the sidewalk, the police broadcast an order to disperse, declaring an unlawful assembly. After the second order, the cops marched in stood in front of the chanting crowds on the sidewalks, holding their batons, while a another group moved in and handcuffed the designated arrestees. First up, an 82-grandmother.

Each arrest was greeted with cheers and lots of news footage–all the local and national networks were there, plus police video teams, and it looked like at least half the crowd had cameras. When all 20 were arrested, the LAPD hopped on their riot-mobiles and sped away. We all began to disperse, though some stayed for speeches.

It was very stylized, regimented, well-orchestrated, though having police at both ends of the street was a little disconcerting, but there was street with sidewalks we could have used to bail if it had gotten weird.

I noticed some of the police officers doing crowd control didn’t look happy, they seemed uncomfortable with the idea that if things went south, they’d have to bonk folks with batons, folks of all races and colors and age, moms holding babies, senior citizens and scrawny artist types with cameras. Luckily, despite one hysterical woman who was shouting that we all needed to get in the streets and was moved away by organizers, the crowd listened to the chant leader who urged us to give the civilly disobedient their space and clear room for the officers.

Meanwhile, Occupy LA has filed a restraining order to prevent the LAPD from dismantling the camp without notice, and Police Chief Beck told the LA Times he is working to negotiate a timeline for the camp to leave. At camp factions have emerged: The rabid frothing anarchists–some of whom have come down from Oakland to radicalize Occupy LA and think, depending on who’s talking, Los Angeles Occupiers need to get off their butts and raise some havoc, get arrested, maybe smash some shit and, like you know man, start the Revolution, get tear-gassed, get their heads beat in, and generally make the eleven o’clock news, ‘cuz like Los Angeles looks like lazy sissies, we gotta represent for the Revolution, man; the more by-the-book activists who see the advantage of staying arrest-free during protests (this week there were five arrests relating to inter-camp issues including assault and lewd behavior), and believe in reformation through action and also in not repelling the average citizen with acts of violence including property damage; and the people who are just hanging out and doing nothing but living in the camp.

Later in the day, Occupy LA took over Bank of America Plaza on their own. There were numerous arrests.

 

Today I’m going to camp with FDL member Bluewombat to deliver socks, Neopsorin and other supplies from the FDL Occupy Supply Fund. The camp is still having massive food problems; the Health Department has been dropping in to inspect any kitchen Occupy LA uses for camp cooking, and donations of packaged foodstuffs are needed because the camp has lost another kitchen.

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