#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 LA Day 6: March and More

First off: No one from Occupy Los Angeles was arrested in Thursday’s Make Banks Pay protest. Occupy LA marched in support; however this was not an Occupy LA event.

At noon there was a demonstration for Make the Banks Pay. Some members of Occupy LA joined members of  Service Employees International Union, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and ReFund California in march through downtown to the Bank of American offices. About 500 people total marched, and some sat down in the lobby of the bank’s building at Seventh and Figueroa, refusing to leave.

Ten people were arrested in the bank’s lobby. These were citizen’s arrests made for trespassing, and the arrestees had planned to be arrested. The LAPD led the arrested protesters from outside the building while the marchers watched. None of those arrested were affiliated with Occupy LA.

From the start, Occupy LA has made it clear they are a peaceful protest and are maintaining that.

The big news from the camp today is that actress Roseanna Arquette stopped by unexpectedly to lend her support, summing up her feelings by saying:

Greed is not the American way.

The tents have moved to the south lawn, where are about 300 set up. The area is almost full; day visitors are welcomed, and there will be a rally on Saturday at 5pm with special guests, followed by a General Assembly.

KPKF has been broadcasting live all day Thursday, and Wednesday night LA’s local FOX affiliate did a positive report from Occupy LA on their late night news. Of course today, Fox’s report was headlined

Occupy LA Targets Banks

But that’s just how they roll. Spirits are good, and so is the food. However, the media departments video microphones have “disappeared,” permanently it seems. If you can help out with replacements or donations, it’d be much appreciated.

Occupy LA Day 4: “Stay as Long as You Need, We’re Here to Support You”

 

Watch live streaming video from owslosangeles at livestream.com

 

The Occupy LA Livestream is up and running. When the mods are sleeping, there are re-runs of the past days: General Assemblies, marches interviews. And a live chat as well.

The LAPD has been cordial and all is well. Tuesday’s rain passed over downtown, but now on Wednesday, it’s definitely coming down everywhere. Heavy duty trash bags  are ready for the rain to cover signs; tarps are needed.

Yesterday, City Council president Eric Garcetti and fellow Council members Bill Rosendahl and Ed Reyes showed up to talk to protestors, along with Dennis Zine, a former registered Republican who told the Los Angeles Times:

It’s the right thing to do. We could just drive by them, or we could go talk to them.

Garcetti, who announced his run for mayor last month, told the protesters:

Stay as long as you need, we’re here to support you.

This morning Council Member Rosendahl will introduce a City Council resolution supporting the protesters.

SEIU leadership paid a visit, as did the janitors union. Both unions expressed support. Today Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa is supposed to drop by, but no time has been set. News crews were present again yesterday, and KFI640 AM talk show hosts John & Ken aired  a positive (for them) interview with an Occupier; they teased the piece by saying

Wall Street, something needs to be done about those goons.

Conservative-ish John & Ken are under fire for giving out the  business phone numbers of an immigration reform activist on air; the phone numbers were listed on a press release. Jorge-Mario Cabrera received  over 400 calls from angry, nasty and at times violence-proposing listeners  opposed to the DREAM Act, and there are demands for advertiser boycotts and for John & Ken’s firing.

Volunteers have secured a commercial kitchen and are preparing three meals a day. Donations of food are gladly accepted. The medic tent said toothbrushes would be very welcome!    Showers are becoming a necessity, with solar showers being discussed as an option. Handicapped porta-potties are coming on site, but donations are needed maintain the porta-potties; they cost approximately $3,000 a week. Recycling has been set up.

A hairdresser has offered to come down and give haircuts. An on-site silkscreen studio has been set up and is printing up tee-shirts, kerchiefs and patches. The items are made from donated fabric and tee shirts (turned inside out to obscure logos) and are given away. The guy manning the screens was wearing a hat printed with

1/21/2010 Never Forget

the date of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

I asked some office workers waiting for the bus at City Hall what they felt about Occupy LA. One man replied:

Freedom of speech.

Another responded:

Wall Street is a problem.

The woman in the group said:

This is good. We need something to change.

Painter Alex Schaefer was also there, completing a plein-air work featuring the buildings of Los Angeles in flames. Up in the corner on bare canvas was scrawled

Symbolism

Schaefer, whose painting of a burning bank caused some upset, sold the work for over $25,000 to an anonymous European collector via eBay. Two weeks ago Schaefer was outside the Federal Reserve building completing a painting of the building aflame, when he was questioned by the Department of Homeland Security, who like the police in the prior incident took down his information, hence the written note on his work in progress. Laughed Schaefer:

They are art fans!

My last conversation was with Michael who lives in South Central and spent 14 years in and out of jail and prison.

My mother is my guiding light. She never gave up on me . . .

he told me, as we transitioned from a discussion about the names of the four guardian angels of the elements. (Yeah, it’s LA which explains soooo much about why this is a mellow, proactive scene).

While I was locked up, I read and studied, I got my AA degree. I come here to Occupy LA every day and sit and listen. And I have been talking to people and on they want me to lead a teaching.

Occupy Santa Barbara has not experienced the same cooperation with the police that Los Angeles is enjoying. Last night two Occupiers in de la Guerra Plaza, a city park, chained themselves to a flagpole and were removed by the fire department after the police had informed the crowd earlier in the day that protesting/camping in the park at night was against city code. Eight people, including the legal observer were arrested, while others stood on the sidewalks and cheered.

Meanwhile, this from the Washington Post:

QUESTION: Have the “Occupy Wall Street” protests reached a level of the President’s engaged awareness? Is he sympathizing with the protestors? Is he concerned about the protests at all?

CARNEY: I haven’t discussed it with him. I’m sure he’s aware of it because he follows the news. I would simply say that, to the extent that people are frustrated with the economic situation, we understand. And that’s why we’re so urgently trying to focus Congress’s attention on the need to take action on the economy and job creation.


Close