Hundreds of lefties were milling around the Occupy Los Angeles encampment last night when a friend and I visited around 10:30 pm. The city had announced an intention to evict the squatters for sanitation (and no doubt irritation) reasons, and so the word had gone out for people to join the protest and possibly dissuade the bulls from making their move. The cops surrounded the encampment early this morning but then backed off. No one was forcibly removed save for a few arrestees. But sooner or later the Occupy-ers will be gone.
I was there strictly as a non-militant, picture-snapping dilletante, as were many others. (Strategy p.r.’s Emily Lu was there with a friend.) I visited Occupy Wall Street a couple of times in September in the same capacity. At least I’m passing along images to several thousand people, whatever that’s worth.
We all know that the Occupy movements across the country are ragtag congregations that don’t have any particular focus other than to deliver a kind of mass theatrical be-in statement about flagrant financial criminality among the 1%, but it’s better than people wandering around in states of numbed-out fantasy and lethargy and other LexG-style mood pockets, which is what the powers-that-be would certainly prefer. The fix is in for the one-percenters, and at least the Occupy-ers are saying what they think and feel about that.
Police Chief Charlie Beck was quoted saying in a Huffington Post story filed this morning that “there is no concrete deadline” for removal of the nearly two-month-old Occupy LA camp. “About half of the 485 tents had been taken down as of Sunday night, leaving patches of the 1.7-acre park around City Hall barren of grass and strewn with garbage,” the story reports.
“The chief said he wanted to make sure the removal will be done when it was safe for protesters and officers and ‘with as little drama as possible.’
“We want to make sure that everybody knows the park is closed and there are services available, that there are alternative ways to protest,” LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in an interview with MSNBC. “By the way, we will be opening up the steps of City Hall for protests, they just can’t camp out.”
Villaraigosa, a former labor organizer, earlier said he sympathizes with the movement but felt it was time it moved beyond holding on to “a particular patch of park” and that public health and safety could not be sustained for a long period.