In the weeks before the Los Angeles Police Department cracked down on Occupy L.A. , nearly a dozen undercover detectives infiltrated the movement to learn about protesters’ plans to resist eviction. more › See more here: Source: Undercover Cops Infiltrated Occupy L.A. in Weeks Before the Raid
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LOS ANGELES — Wall Street protesters in Los Angeles defied the mayor’s early Monday deadline to vacate their encampment near City Hall, with about 1,000 flooding into the area as hundreds of tents remained standing as they have for nearly two months. A celebratory atmosphere filled the night with protesters milling about the park and streets by City Hall in seeming good spirits. A group on bicycles circled the block, one of them in a cow suit. Organizers led chants with a bull horn. “The best way to keep a non-violent movement non-violent is to throw a party, and keep it festive and atmospheric,” said Brian Masterson. Police presence was slight right after the 12:01 a.m. PST Monday deadline, but it began increasing as the morning wore on. At the same time, the number of protesters dwindled. “People have been pretty cooperative tonight. We want to keep it peaceful,” police Cmdr. Andrew Smith told The Associated Press. He refused to discuss how or when police will move to clear the park, but he said: “We’re going to do this as gently as we possibly can. Our goal is not to have anybody arrested. Our goal is not to have to use force.” By 2:30 a.m., most protesters had moved from the camp site in the park to the streets. That put them technically in compliance with the mayor’s eviction order, but could lead to confrontation with police if they try to clear the streets. There have so far been no arrests or reports of violence. “We’re still here, it’s after 12, ain’t nobody throwing anything at the cops, they haven’t come in and broken anyone’s noses yet, so it’s a beautiful thing,” said Adam Rice, a protester standing across the street from police in riot gear. The Los Angeles showdown follows police actions in other cities – sometimes involving the use of pepper spray and tear gas – that resulted in the removal of long-situated demonstration sites. Some of those encampments had been in use almost since the movement against economic disparity and perceived corporate greed began with Occupy Wall Street in Manhattan two months ago. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said earlier that the park grounds would be closed after the deadline, while Police Chief Charlie Beck promised that arrests would eventually be made if protesters did not comply. But in a statement issued shortly before midnight, the mayor said police “will allow campers ample time to remove their belongings peacefully and without disruption.” As the deadline approached, people poured into the grounds, likely many of them answering calls on Facebook and Twitter to come out and show solidarity. Well after midnight, some protesters began marching into the streets, and several crossed the street to police headquarters. “Me and my friends, we are not leaving no matter what,” said Brian Guzman, who stood on the street corner holding a “Power to the People” sign. “Not until we get some changes.” Masterson said he had turned his own tent into a “non-violent booby trap” by filling it with sandbags to make it tough to tear down. “We can’t beat the LAPD, but we can make it difficult for them to do their job, and have fun while we’re doing it,” Masterson said. Elsewhere, a deadline set by the city for Occupy Philadelphia to leave the site where it has camped for nearly two months passed Sunday without any arrests. The scene outside Philadelphia’s City Hall was quiet most of Sunday and by early Monday the numbers of protesters – and police officers – had decreased. Philadelphia’s protesters have managed to avoid aggressive confrontations so far. By early Monday there was still hope the City of Brotherly Love would continue to be largely violence-free. But eight people were arrested in Maine Sunday after protesters in the Occupy Augusta encampment in Capitol Park took down their tents and packed their camping gear after being told to get a permit or move their shelters. In Los Angeles, some campers packed up their tents and belongings to avoid police trouble, but said they intended to return without them in support of their fellow protesters. Scott Shuster was one of those breaking down his camp, but he said it was only to protect his property and he planned to remain. “I just don’t want to lose my tent,” he said. Others moved their tents to the sidewalk so they were technically out of the park. Villaraigosa, a former labor organizer himself, has said he sympathizes with the movement but that he felt it was time it moved beyond holding on to “a particular patch of park.” He said public health and safety could not be sustained for a long period. Chief Charlie Beck told the Los Angeles Times in an interview published Sunday that he expected to make arrests at some point. “I have no illusions that everybody is going to leave,” Beck said. “We anticipate that we will have to make arrests.” Read more from the original source: Occupy LA Protesters Defy Mayor, Refuse To Leave Encampment
SAN FRANCISCO — Los Angeles and San Francisco are seeking long-term solutions to the entrenched encampments by anti-Wall Street protesters, hoping to end the drain on resources and the frayed nerves among police and politicians. Officials in both cities have considered providing protesters with indoor space that would allow the movement to carry out its work in more sanitary, less public facilities. Occupiers are debating among themselves about whether to hold their ground or try to take advantage of possible moves. Talks in both cities mark a distinctly different approach than tactics used elsewhere that have seen police sent in to dislodge Occupy camps. Violence and arrests plagued camps in Oakland and New York, while the use of batons and pepper spray against peaceful protesters on University of California campuses has led to national outrage and derision. San Francisco is negotiating with Occupy SF members about moving their encampment from the heart of the financial district to an empty school in the city’s hip Mission district. That would allow the occupiers to have access to toilets and a room for their daily meetings, while camping out in the parking lot of what was once a small high school. The move also could help them weed out drug addicts and drunks, and those not wholly committed to their cause. Protesters in Los Angeles said officials rescinded a similar deal, in which the city would have leased a 10,000-square-foot space that once housed a bookstore in Los Angeles Mall to the protesters for $1 a year. But after the proposal was made public at an Occupy LA general assembly, it generated outrage from some who saw it as a giveaway of public resources by a city struggling with financial problems, and the offer was withdrawn. Deputy Mayor Matt Szabo told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the encampment around City Hall would be shut down at some point next week. “The encampment as it exists is unsustainable,” Szabo said. Whether the city continues to negotiate with Occupy LA for a new location remains to be seen. Occupy LA camper Alifah Ali said she would pack up her tent at City Hall when the order to leave came down in Los Angeles and welcome the possibility of new digs. “Maybe we need to move,” Ali said. “Maybe this will give us room to organize, make our voice clear.” Los Angeles officials initially endorsed the movement and allowed tents to sprout on City Halls lawns. More than 480 tents have since been erected. But problems arose with sanitation, drug use and homeless people moving into the camp. In San Francisco, several hundred protesters have been hunkered down for some six weeks in about 100 tents at Justin Herman Plaza, at the eastern end of Market Street and across from the tourist-catching Ferry Building on the bay. The city has declared the plaza a public health nuisance, though city officials also credit the campers for their efforts to rid the camp of garbage and keep the grassy area clean. Mayor Ed Lee has met with the occupiers at several heated closed-door meetings at City Hall. He’s repeatedly told them he supports their cause and the right to protest the nation’s confounding inequality between the rich and the poor. But they cannot, he has said, continue to camp out overnight in a public plaza. “The mayor is being patient,” said Christine Falvey, a spokeswoman for Lee. “He wants to see some sort of long-term, sustainable plan because the city cannot sustain overnight camping for any long period of time.” Ken Cleaveland of the Building Owners and Managers Association of San Francisco, which represents the hotels and businesses that have been impacted by the noise, loss of tourism and concerns of violence, said some hotels had to reimburse guests who could not sleep, and small businesses in the tourist hub have lost thousands of dollars. “It’s time to move the camp,” he said. “Nobody’s disagreeing with their right to protest or the inequities in society that they are protesting, but it’s not a place to camp out permanently.” A survey by The Associated Press found that during the first two months of the nationwide Occupy protests, the movement that is demanding more out of the wealthiest Americans cost taxpayers at least $13 million in police overtime and other municipal services. Gentle Blythe, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco public school district, said city officials had approached the district about allowing Occupy SF to relocate to the Mission site that formerly housed Phoenix High School. The School Board is considering a facility permit that would allow the city to lease the property for six months. Occupy SF members say they’re mulling over the proposal. “We’re waiting for whatever caveats the city is going to come back at us with,” said Jerry Selness, a retired Navy medic from Eugene, Ore., who has volunteered for a more than a month at the Occupy SF medical tent. “I do feel that we’re at a crux point here: we are either going to give this movement enough time to be able to make our next move, which will be to not only to move this camp, but move to a new phase in the way that we occupy,” he said. There is debate among the occupiers in San Francisco as to whether it’s better to stay put, move to another long-term location or make quick hit-and-run occupies at symbolic sites such as bank lobbies and foreclosures auctions. “For instance, there’s a neighborhood in San Francisco right now where they’re foreclosing on 11 houses in one street,” Selness said. “What a perfect place for us to occupy.” — Hoag reported from Los Angeles Read more from the original source: Occupy SF, LA To Move Indoors?
Occupy protesters and followers are questioning whether or not Los Angeles will face similar rioting as the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Oakland movements. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has supported the movement from day one, and at least one other councilman – Bill Rosendahl – are losing patience and feel that the time has come for occupiers to pack up camp and create a new tent city elsewhere. more › More: Occupy L.A. Protesters Will Not Back Down
L.A. journalist/documentary filmmaker/new media producer Chelo Alvarez-Stehle and her trusty video camera provide “An Intimate Look Inside Occupy LA,” welcoming those of us who can’t actively participate in the movement into its inspirational world of tents, chants and hope. more › The rest is here: Local Filmmaker Takes Viewers Inside Occupy L.A.