Occupy Back to Chalk Sidewalks at Los Angeles Art Walk

Occupy has vowed to return to Art Walk tonight, Thursday the 9th, and “Chalkupy” the sidewalks, as well as staging

an open community art and music space in Pershing Square with a community potluck and a “Really Really Free” Market.

Occupiers also plans to have a portion of the evening dedicated to the victims of LAPD violence at last month’s event including those arrested for chalking, those injured by police projectiles and other law enforcement weaponries, small businesses and artists who had to shut down early, and residents and patrons who the LAPD kept from entering or existing buildings until early the next morning.

In advance of tonight’s Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk, members of Occupy were arrested earlier today for chalking Pershing Square. The three arrested Chalkupiers were bused in from Occupy Oakland. Two were released, and one remained in jail on an outstanding warrant.

The Los Angeles Police Department–which came down hard on  Occupy last month for chalking the sidewalks, streets and crosswalks–is taking a firm stance on sidewalk chalking, as is the city. Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Horace Frank, of the Central Division, told the Los Angeles Times that his officers plan to enforce the anti-chalking law if they see it being broken:

It’s a violation of the law, it’s vandalism, and we’re going to make an arrest,” he said, adding that he has received frequent emails from downtown property owners complaining about damage from chalk.

“My BlackBerry is burning up with pictures of businesses being vandalized.”

Meanwhile, though the city has declined to press charges on the majority of those arrested for chalking–which seems like a huge waste of everyone’s time and a form of intimidation–no permits will be issued for  chalking:

Richard Schave, a founding member of the Art Walk non-profit, asked the city if it would be possible to create a “safe space” for the group to protest, after LAPD clashed with protesters at last month’s “Chalk Walk.” The city said that it could approve a permit for protesters to congregate at Pershing Square, but not if the event included chalking, which it does not consider lawful.

The President of Public Works, Andrea Alarcon, sent Schave a letter saying that the city considers chalking illegal activity:

“Unfortunately, a request for a permit to assemble in Pershing Square for the purposes of ‘chalking’ does not fit within the parameters of our permitting structure because the use of chalk to deface public or private property is not lawful.”

9:15 p.m: According to Channel 9 News, Chalkupy is going on at Pershing Square and no arrests have been made. While there is a police presence, it’s waaaay smaller than last month’s; and police say they are taking things on a case by case basis, with no arrests so far tonight. Meanwhile, some of the chalkers are heading to Art Walk.

Will update at next news report.


Photo: Twitpic @FreshJuiceParty

HT: LAist

#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.

Occupy San Diego Shut Down, Dozens of Arrests Including Legal Observer and Vets

View more videos at: http://nbcsandiego.com.

UPDATE: At a press conference on Friday morning, Assistant Police Chief Boyd Long said the number number of arrests was about 50.

While most people were keeping an eye on Occupys in Oakland and Nashville, between 1:45am and 2am Friday  the San Diego Police Department in riot gear descended on both Occupy San Diego encampments, Civic Center and Children’s Park. According to Occupiers, SDPD Assistant Chief Boyd Long had told them they could remain in Children’s Park as long as no tents were erected, and Occupiers had complied.

At Civic Center Plaza, many Occupiers sat down and chanted, singing protest songs and loudly telling the police they they too are the 99%. Despite this, there were between 20 and  44 arrests, including the media team, ex-military and a legal observer, and several protestors were struck and/or thrown to the ground. 

Occupy SD’s Facebook page says

There were several people beaten by the police today as well as over a dozen arrested at Occupy SD. Chief of Police Landsdowne was seen laughing and smirking behind a line of 300 cops with batons while occupiers were being beaten assaulted by the police on his direct order. Please call the Mayor and Chief of Police Landsdowne and tell them that infringing on people’s freedom of speech and assembly by beating and assaulting peaceful protesters is inhumane. San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders: (619) 236-6330 and SDPD Chief William Lansdowne (619) 531-2777

All personal items and donated food and medical supplies were confiscated, and barricades were installed at Civic Center Plaza. Police said that Occupiers could return, but without belongings.

Side note, the NBC video above shows some very, shall we say, husky cops. In addition to registering displeasure with the SDPD’s actions, residents might also wish to call for physical evaluations including giving them the stamina tests cadets must pass before joining the force, since some of those guys look plainly out of shape.

Watch live streaming video from occupysandiegolivefeed at livestream.com

photos: screen shots from NBC7

Occupy LA Day 26: Presidential Candidate Visits, Mayor Wants a Relocation, Unity is Achieved

(video continued below)

Fred Karger, GOP candidate for president–you know, the gay, Jewish, pro-choice, pro-medical marijuana Republican candidate (aka a  real live unicorn!)–dropped by Occupy LA today. He’s already visited Occupy New Hampshire and Occupy Wall Street where he’s been listening to what people are saying and asking questions.  Obama didn’t even drive by when he was visiting Los Angeles, though some Occupiers put up their tents along his route. The Secret Service wanted them to to move, but the Los Angeles police said they could stay. And so they did!

Meanwhile,  Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says the protestors have to eventually move from City Hall, only he hasn’t figured when. Or how. ):

I respect the protesters’ right to peacefully assemble and express their views. City officials have been in a continuous and open dialogue with the organizers of Occupy L.A. However, the protesters must respect city laws and regulations, and while they have been allowed to camp on City Hall lawns, that cannot continue indefinitely.

But he has launched a committee to find another place for them. I’m thinking MacArthur Park or “The Cornfield.” No, that’s not a reference to the Twilight Zone episode “It’s a Good Life,” starring Billy Mumy as the mean kid who would put people “in the cornfield” by wishing them gone when they displeased him, but rather to the California State Park in the heart of downtown, though that would technically require state approval.

Villaraigosa also instructed city officials to begin drafting restrictions limiting when people are allowed at City Hall, though currently no one is supposed to be sleeping there between 10:30pm and 5am anyway.

LA City Attorney Carmen Trutinich said:

To protect the public health and safety of all residents, the LAPD and General Services Police can and should enforce the law in a fair, consistent, and even-handed manner. The law addresses conduct. Enforcement may not be based on the content of any political or personal opinion or message.

The LAPD has not been enforcing the  get-off-the-lawn law. They have been really cool.

Tonight the General Assembly was split when a group calling themselves “People’s Forum”  began dancing and chanting and holding an open mic sharing where several people plugged their websites and one woman rambled about her daughter’s bad relationship, her own free master’s degree from Cornell and how she’s a celebrity. Sharing about why they’re there and what they hope to achieve, problems they are having is needed, though maybe with a time limit and less self-promotion: People do need to know each other and their stories, to hear encouragement and ideas; however at the GA, issues like  security and actions, plus the state of other Occupys are brought up and discussed, along with committee reports, finances, etc.   Granted nightly GA can be occasionally tedious, but they are needed and are an immediate democratic process. While the share-bear People’s Forum went on, the GA met on the other lawn.

After an hour, the GA joined the open mic folks and unity was achieved. Issues like maintaining the cleanliness of the park, sexual harassment, drug and alcohol use were discussed. People expressed that it was necessary to have unity and focus, and that pot and booze dull the latter, while having an environment where women don’t feel safe fractures unity.  And picking up trash and not making a mess shows respect for the environment/land. There was no voting, just ideas brought forth.

I think having open mic assemblies at night on Saturday and/or Sunday where people just share could help foster unity as well as giving people ideas that could later be voted on in GA during the week.   You can watch the recorded livestreams of the General Assemblies at  www.livestream.com/owslosangeles

There is some reasonable concern about police action, given the ongoing  situations Oakland, Atlanta and  in others citys where  police force is being used to remove Occupys; but again, so far the Los Angeles police have been reasonable, helpful, friendly and kind. Let’s hope that Villaraigosa doesn’t drop the banhammer on Occupy LA, but if he does, the LAPD acts like Albany, NY where they police refused to move on protestors and not like the law enforcement in Oakland, CA.

Tomorrow, thanks to FDL’s #Occupy Supply program, I am bringing down cases of peanut butter, loaves of bread  and other packaged foodstuffs to distribute through the camp, as they are really hungry and, per the Health Department can only have food that is prepackaged or prepared by Health Department-permitted kitchens. So thank you, FDL members and readers for helping the 1,000+ Occupiers of Los Angeles in 495 tents at City Hall have food in their bellies as they move forward.