2011-10-16 Ten Thousand March with #OccupyLA

Saurday was the biggest day yet at Occupy Los Angeles as it began its third week. Around noon, between 10,000 – 15,000 people, according to official LAPD estimates, marched from Pershing Sq. through the financial district and then to the occupation site at city hall. With so many protesters, the police closed the streets for the march, which was very spirited with people from all over Southern California and what is more important a mix of people that was incredibly representative of South California. As this is not radio, I will let the 14 pictures in the slideshow below the fold speak for themselves.

The march ended at Occupy Los Angeles which now involves over 300 tents occupying almost of the grassy areas around city hall. Thousand of people stayed around for the celebration, dancing music, committee meetings, film screenings, yoga and more.

As city hall is closed on Saturday, we had the run of the place. The north, west and south stairs operated as three stages all afternoon and into the night. For the afternoon, Spring St. on the west side of city hall was blocked off to traffic so that people could rally there. A portable stage and sound system was set up in the middle of the street and that was the main forum for post march speakers and musicians.

Many people came to Occupy LA this Saturday apart from those that came for the march. Word of mouth is really building support for Occupy LA as people come to visit and tell their friends or come back with their families. The effects of this could really be seen this weekend. This driving force has been multiplied by the good local TV coverage it has received from the beginning.

OLA has been a regular item for the local TV news for a week now. Some of the local news people like the 99% concept and they have learned that they can come to city hall at any hour night or day and do a live spot with great visuals and interesting people to talk to. Tonight I saw the guy with the "No War But Class War" sign in the background of the live spot for two channels tonight. He gets around.

The General Assembly on Saturday night was one of the biggest so far and must have had more than 600 people in attendance, with many more thinking of better things to do on a Saturday night. Thousands of people were still at Occupy LA late into the night.

While a small ultra-left element disagrees strongly, most occupiers see the police people as a part of the 99% to we have consciously cultivated good rapport with the beat cops. With the city bureaucrats and the LAPD brass there are still some issues but those are not likely to break the peace in the immediate future because the bigger it gets and the longer it has been seen to operate peacefully, the hard it will be for them to take down Occupy Los Angeles by force.

LAPD continues to say that the occupiers must move the tents to the sidewalk each night and the campers have not complied in the past week although they did move tents to make room for the farmers market on Thursday. So while they continue to press that issue with the OLA city liaison committee they have so far not threatened to use force in an attempt to enforce that and so for now relations with the LAPD remain good. They stopped traffic for the march and they blocked off Spring St. for the crowds but there was no "show of force" and no arrests.

Occupy LA may not have any "leaders" but it does have a solid core of people that are working damn hard to see that things get done.

There has also been sharp political struggle going on underneath all of this that I hope to have occasion to write about latter because, as usual, the greatest danger to Occupy Los Angeles comes from within. If you want to get a clue as to what I am talking about, I would refer you to the facebook page formally known as "End Police Brutality at Occupy LA" now renamed, and the unrepentant unpermitedla. The people would like to do an "Italian Job" on Occupy LA but that ain't going to happen.