Occupy Los Angeles Defiant as eviction looms

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By Dan Tanner

Recent visit to Occupy Los Angles suggests a defiant mood against the City that has served an eviction notice on the Occupiers. The City and Occupiers had a nice cozy relationship last two months and things have been pretty neat between them. The Police has been benevolent and tolerant.

The camp is located right across the LAPD headquarters -a shimmering glass and concrete structure worth noting on its own. You just have to cross the street and you enter another world of camps, protesters, and a man holding  six week old kittens in his hands. Some people are playing soccer in the mini Plaza, and a band is playing on and on, and there is a woman on the mike yelling something inaudible as no one pays any attention to the daily rants. People are mixing around with dogs in tow and sitting in the warm November sun. Its about 75 degrees and the day is as warm as summer could be. The campers are clad in T Shirts and shorts and light clothing and there is a defiant mood but jovial on the outside. An argument breaks out but dies down when others interfere and rebuke. There was a gaggle of cameramen and news hounds and an endless parade of movie making amateurs. Some had their camera on all the time shooting at mundane things around the camp. Well this is LA the movie capital of the world so it goes.

Despite the good times Occupy Los Angeles has had, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced Friday that its time for Occupies to leave and served them an eviction notice for Monday afternoon. Mayor cites health and safety concerns and it is time to re-grow the City’s lawn.

Unlike many other cities in America where harsh handed tactics and middle of the night raids were used, this is a soft handed tactic and the Mayor went out of the way to sympathize with the protesters in his speech. The Mayor has bucked the trend to assault on Occupy Wall Street encampments around the country, perhaps carried out under orders from Department of Homeland Security, or other Federal Agencies to quell and suppress the movement and shut it down. Cities like New York, Oakland and Portland, have used heavy handed tactics to discourage the movement and news have been painted wide in the Press and on online media. There is a definite  attempt to suppress dissent and free speech and shut up the source of protests. The free speech is only as free as it can be allowed, and any further encroachment on public property and assembly is just up to the local mayors and what the  local jurisdictions  interpret and enforce. We have seen riot police, pepper sprays, dozens of arrests and violence. The Police force in New York acted specially very heavy handed on demonstrators lately- evicting them with sweeping force in the middle of the night raid and confiscating their equipment and belongings.

What will happen in Los Angles is up to the Mayor and time will tell. In an interview with Los Angeles Times on Sunday, Charlie Beck Police chief said “I have no illusions that everybody is going to leave” and added “We anticipate that we will have to make arrests”.

Would he also arrest the guy with six week old kittens ?

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