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Cleanup crews find jugs of urine, other debris at Occupy L.A.

A fence was erected to keep protesters out of the park surrounding City Hall Wednesday.

Workers cleaning up the former Occupy L.A. camp on the City Hall lawn found more than they bargained for.

Sanitation teams wearing masks, biosuits and gloves combed through the piles of possessions, recycling what they could and sending the remainder to the landfill. Some of what was left behind had to be treated as hazardous waste, officials said.

“That’s pee,” said Leo Martinez, division manager of the Bureau of Sanitation, pointing to a crate of gallon-sized plastic jugs containing yellow liquid. “It’s nasty. You can smell the urine in the area.”

Occupy L.A.: Photos | Videos | 360° photos | Live webcam

When police moved into the lawn early Wednesday morning, some wore protective suits because they feared protesters would throw urine at them.

The lawn of the 1.6-acre park was largely trampled to death, pocked by muddy squares impressed into the ground where tents stood and fringed with thin strips of grass struggling to survive. Left behind were tents, shoes, clothes, carpet, sleeping bags, tarps, gas masks, a box of silverware, a wig flattened like roadkill, poker chips, pumpkin seeds and cans of baked beans.

Posters and propaganda littered the ground, including a drawing of a top-hatted boy wearing spectacles, a tuxedo jacket and striped pants who was labeled “1%” and who was urinating on a group of snowmen labeled “99%,” as well as a stack of brochures from Allison Margolin, who calls herself “L.A.’s Dopest Attorney” and specializes in marijuana arrests. 

By mid-morning, City Hall was encircled in K-rails topped by six-foot chain-link fences.

The cool morning air was filled with a sour scent and the sounds of about half a dozen small garbage trucks beeping as they backed up and grinding as they chewed up tents and snapped their poles. Bureau of Sanitation workers wearing masks, gloves and bright yellow vests scooped up the former homes and possessions of the occupiers and fed them to the mangling jaws of the trucks.

Remaining to be disassembled was the redoubt of one of the last holdouts, a fanciful tree house constructed of pallets erected between four towering palms and decorated with flowers, manikins and a sign quoting Willy Wonka: “We are the music makers. We are the makers of dreams."

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-- David Zahniser and John Hoeffel

Photo: A fence was erected Wednesday to keep protesters out of the park surrounding City Hall. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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