Occupy L.A. rejects last-ditch plea to leave City Hall

Occupy L.A. participants on Sunday rejected a city official’s midday plea to move their political activism indoors and depart the park space that encircles Los Angeles City Hall.

The standoff sets the stage for a possible confrontation just after midnight ”” the deadline authorities set for clearing the park.

”œUntil the grievances of the 99% are addressed to end corporate control of the system, the government and the media, Occupy L.A. will be here exercising our 1st Amendment rights and petition for our grievances,” said Julie Levine, acting as one of several spokespeople for Occupy L.A., which is loosely organized.

Levine and others addressed the media and onlookers shortly after Councilman Bill Rosendahl urged them to make ”œa peaceful transition from this land to action.” Rosendahl pledged that city officials would try to address their demands and also would provide space outside City Hall for gatherings that would have to end each night by 10:30 p.m.


”œIt’s important to truly exercise one’s constitutional rights,” said Reese, who was not speaking on behalf of Pacifica. ”œWe need a public space where we can do this 24/7, not on a permitted basis a few hours of the day.”

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  • Los Angeles Police Withdraw After Occupy Eviction Deadline Passes

    Los Angeles Times, By Jennifer Medina, November 28

    LOS ANGELES — It had all the makings of a showdown: shouting protesters, police officers in riot gear, with batons drawn as they pushed forward to disperse the crowd. But in the end, as the deadline for Occupy Los Angeles protesters to clear their tents from City Hall passed early Monday morning, there was hardly a commotion.

    Of the thousands of people protesting, just four were arrested, officials said. When the police continued to press forward to the ire of some protesters, a few threw sticks and plastic water bottles at the officers, who stood by with dozens of plastic handcuffs strapped to their waists. But at dawn, the police withdrew from the area without trying to break up the encampment.

    Once again, Los Angeles officials appeared to give the protesters far more leeway than their counterparts in the other parts of the country have received in the last several weeks.

    Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa had set a Monday morning deadline for protesters to clear their tents and other possessions from the camp, which is on the grounds of City Hall. A group of protesters filed for a federal injunction against the move, saying that it was a free speech violation. The lawsuit also accuses the mayor and the police chief of overstepping their authority without involvement from the City Council, which had given protesters an exemption from a ban on overnight public stays.

  • Occupy L.A. Eviction: Is LAPD Restricting Coverage With Last-Minute ‘Pool Media’?

    LA Weekly, By Simone Wilson, November 29

    Creating limited media pools at high-profile, heavily policed events isn’t an uncommon practice at the Los Angeles Police Department.

    “When we don’t have resources to accomodate every single outlet that wants to be there, we often do that,” says Officer Karen Rayner in the media-relations office.

    But a last-minute email to the LAPD’s press list last night — saying “any outlet interested in being considered for the [Occupy L.A. eviction] pool must have a representative attend this meeting, no exceptions” — has raised some concerns among smaller-time reporters covering Occupy L.A.

    (And in the case of Occupy Wall Street, the bloggers and freelancers are often the only ones getting the story right.)

  • Police abandon classic strategies to design a crowd-control plan unique to L.A. site.

    Los Angeles Times, By Mitchell Landsberg, Joel Rubin & Kate Linthicum, November 30

    When the end came, it came swiftly and with the shock of an overwhelming force.

    Hundreds of police officers in riot gear swarmed out of Los Angeles City Hall early Wednesday, batons across their chests, surprising and engulfing the Occupy L.A. protesters who had been camped in the surrounding park for two months.

    “Shame on you!” protesters shouted, as the officers ran to pre-assigned spots, instantly dividing the park into small, easily controlled segments. “Get back!” police shouted to those who came too close.

    “We are peaceful!” protesters yelled.

    The operation began at 12:13 a.m., on orders from Deputy Chief Jose Perez, watching from the steps of Los Angeles police headquarters across the street.

    Two minutes later, it was effectively over.

    Police take down Occupy L.A. camp, arrest nearly 300

    Reuters, By Dan Whitcomb & Mary Slosson, November 30

    Police in riot gear and biohazard suits removed [Removed? Like Leeches?] anti-Wall Street activists from their camp at Los Angeles City Hall Wednesday, arresting nearly 300 people and fencing off the area.

    On the East Coast, about 100 Occupy protesters in Philadelphia swiftly and peacefully vacated their encampment overnight, but police later arrested 52 around the city on charges ranging from obstructing a highway to assaulting a police officer, officials said.

    In Los Angeles, police officers brought in on buses surrounded the Occupy LA camp after midnight and declared protesters on the lawn, sidewalks and streets around City Hall to be an unlawful assembly, ordering them to disperse or face arrest in line with an eviction order from the mayor.

    The Los Angeles encampment, which officials had allowed to remain even as other cities moved in to clear out similar compounds, had been among the largest on the West Coast aligned with a 2-month-old Occupy Wall Street movement against economic inequality and excesses of the U.S. financial system.

  • By Patrick Meighan, December 6

    My name is Patrick Meighan, and I’m a husband, a father, a writer on the Fox animated sitcom “Family Guy”, and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica.

    I was arrested at about 1 a.m. Wednesday morning with 291 other people at Occupy LA. I was sitting in City Hall Park with a pillow, a blanket, and a copy of Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Being Peace” when 1,400 heavily-armed LAPD officers in paramilitary SWAT gear streamed in. I was in a group of about 50 peaceful protestors who sat Indian-style, arms interlocked, around a tent (the symbolic image of the Occupy movement). The LAPD officers encircled us, weapons drawn, while we chanted “We Are Peaceful” and “We Are Nonviolent” and “Join Us.”

    As we sat there, encircled, a separate team of LAPD officers used knives to slice open every personal tent in the park. They forcibly removed anyone sleeping inside, and then yanked out and destroyed any personal property inside those tents, scattering the contents across the park. They then did the same with the communal property of the Occupy LA movement. For example, I watched as the LAPD destroyed a pop-up canopy tent that, until that moment, had been serving as Occupy LA’s First Aid and Wellness tent, in which volunteer health professionals gave free medical care to absolutely anyone who requested it. As it happens, my family had personally contributed that exact canopy tent to Occupy LA, at a cost of several hundred of my family’s dollars. As I watched, the LAPD sliced that canopy tent to shreds, broke the telescoping poles into pieces and scattered the detritus across the park. Note that these were the objects described in subsequent mainstream press reports as “30 tons of garbage” that was “abandoned” by Occupy LA: personal property forcibly stolen from us, destroyed in front of our eyes and then left for maintenance workers to dispose of while we were sent to prison.

    When the LAPD finally began arresting those of us interlocked around the symbolic tent, we were all ordered by the LAPD to unlink from each other (in order to facilitate the arrests). Each seated, nonviolent protester beside me who refused to cooperate by unlinking his arms had the following done to him: an LAPD officer would forcibly extend the protestor’s legs, grab his left foot, twist it all the way around and then stomp his boot on the insole, pinning the protestor’s left foot to the pavement, twisted backwards. Then the LAPD officer would grab the protestor’s right foot and twist it all the way the other direction until the non-violent protestor, in incredible agony, would shriek in pain and unlink from his neighbor.

    It was horrible to watch, and apparently designed to terrorize the rest of us. At least I was sufficiently terrorized. I unlinked my arms voluntarily and informed the LAPD officers that I would go peacefully and cooperatively. I stood as instructed, and then I had my arms wrenched behind my back, and an officer hyperextended my wrists into my inner arms. It was super violent, it hurt really really bad, and he was doing it on purpose. When I involuntarily recoiled from the pain, the LAPD officer threw me face-first to the pavement. He had my hands behind my back, so I landed right on my face. The officer dropped with his knee on my back and ground my face into the pavement. It really, really hurt and my face started bleeding and I was very scared. I begged for mercy and I promised that I was honestly not resisting and would not resist.

    My hands were then zipcuffed very tightly behind my back, where they turned blue. I am now suffering nerve damage in my right thumb and palm.

    I was put on a paddywagon with other nonviolent protestors and taken to a parking garage in Parker Center. They forced us to kneel on the hard pavement of that parking garage for seven straight hours with our hands still tightly zipcuffed behind our backs. Some began to pass out. One man rolled to the ground and vomited for a long, long time before falling unconscious. The LAPD officers watched and did nothing.

    Via DU

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