2011-11-30 #OccupyLA - Day 60: The Eviction

Occupy Los Angeles was raided last night by the LAPD. By the time of the General Assembly at 7:30pm everyone knew that the promised eviction of the encampment around Los Angeles City Hall was coming that night.. Even during the GA and after city cops circulated among the occupiers and their supporters, over a thousand people had responded to the call to come out and support the occupation. Many voiced their willingness to be arrested.

The protesters moved out into the streets around city hall, as they had done Sunday night, as the police blocked off the streets and formed a encirclement of city hall designed to keep move arriving protesters from joining those already there. Twitter and the [occupy la] listserv were alive with information about alternate routes still open to city hall, such as thorough little Tokyo, or an alley near Temple.

The encirclement of the protesters deepened as hundreds of cops in riot gear arrive on buses from their staging area at Dodger Stadium but the raid began in earnest in a move that surprised everyone. Hundred of cops in riot gear that must have been prepositioned , or moved in via the tunnels connecting city hall to neighboring buildings`, came storming out of city hall and down the steps.

As they came storming down the south stairs, were most of the people were, they were confronted by a photographer who refused to move. He was wrestled to the ground and arrested. That may have been the first of hundreds of arrests to take place that morning.

At first the cops seemed more interested in dispersing the protesters rather than arresting them. Up to a certain point they allowed protesters to leave city hall, the police encirclement and escape arrest. Then they stop letting people leave and arrested the remaining protesters and cops in hazmat suits started kicking down the tents.

After the the order to disperse was given around mid-night, the LA Times described what happened this way:
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.

Although police spent hours more arresting protesters and clearing the area, there was never a fight for control of the park. Police made sure that was not really a question. And although a few protesters threw rocks or otherwise resisted, most kept their cool and urged their compatriots to do the same.

Through a combination of effective tactics, daunting numbers and — significantly — restraint by both sides, police managed to bring the encampment to a largely peaceful end, avoiding the melees that marred the eviction of protesters from similar camps in Oakland, New York and elsewhere.

In the process, the LAPD took a major step toward shedding a reputation earned over decades for heavy-handed crowd control.

Two local L.A. Television stations, KCAL channel 9 and KTLA channel 5 gave continuous coverage from about 8pm till 1:00am and 2:00am respectively. After enduring months of coverage on the Murray trial and the usual trivial, it was nice to see these local stations cover an important story with such vigor.

Apparently the LAPD didn't always play so nice after the TV cameras were gone or they were out of sight. There are a number of reported incidents of beating with clubs that need to be investigated and I personally saw a wound on one young demonstrator that I tend to believe was made by a Foam Baton.

Over 200 protesters were arrested. Most for unlawful assembly and most held on $5,000 bail. We don't have anything like that in the bail fund (My own bail was $100 for what we now refer to as N17.) but we are told that the will be release on OR after arraignment tomorrow.

FYI, there was an attempt to get a TRO. The outcome and the reason for it are explained in an email I received this morning:
The suit for Injunction filed by the NLG (Carol Sobel) on Monday was denied today as moot.

This is exactly what the Order says:

On November 29, 2011, at 8:06 p.m., Plaintiffs e-filed this Exparte Application for a Temporary Restraining Order ("Application"), requesting that we enjoin the removal of participants in Occupy Los Angeles from City Hall Park. Plaintiffs did not inform us yesterday that a TRO Application would be forthcoming, nor did Plaintiffs contact the Court last night to inform us htat the Application had been e-filed. As a result, it did not come to our attention until 8:00 this morning that the Application had been e-filed. In the interim, all participants in Occupy Los Angeles were removed form City Hall Park by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Given last night's events, Plaintiffs' requested relief is no longer applicable. Accordingly, Plaintiffs' Application is hereby DENIED as moot.


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