Occupy L.A.: Protesters vow to remain nonviolent
Occupy L.A. protesters vowed to maintain a nonviolent posture as they prepared to be arrested and evicted from their camping perch at City Hall. Police were amassing at Broadway and 1st Street.
Several dozen protesters were filling the intersection of Main and 1st streets, chanting "Whose streets? Our streets!" as a police helicopter circled overhead.
"I will not resist. This is all peaceful," said Katy Ebner, 19, an occupier for the last two months, who has also visited camps in Irvine, Riverside and San Francisco. She said she had no intention of leaving the camp as the dispersal order is completed.
"This whole cause is important. It's just something I believe in. And I'm willing to do anything for my beliefs," Ebner said, wearing a leopard print bandana across her face.
A large group of people congregated at Main and 1st streets. The crowd smelled of body odor, vinegar and marijuana. Protesters with red-taped crosses on their sleeves and backs planned to offer medical assistance, and carried vinegar as a disinfectant.
As the evening progressed, a lull has settled over the crowd, which appeared to have shrunk somewhat over the hours. Small groups of protesters were dancing and clapping and chanting various chants among themselves, while others milled about, giving a disjointed feel to the camp. There were no obvious signs of people planning violent resistance.
A 22-year-old who said his name is Yum Yum said he had been arrested twice at Occupy events. "I'm ready to get arrested again," he said. "The police are trying to trample our rights and we've done nothing wrong."
One female protester advised others that they can leave and take tents to a church at Olvera Street.
Nicole Lee, of Revolution Books, stood on the perimeter of the park and said that the Occupy movement was at a crossroads.
"I think it's critical for people to come down and support the movement," Lee said.
Lee said she will follow police orders to leave the camp, but that other friends from Revolution Books will stay put.
Several have linked arms in the center of Solidarity Park, surrounding a single tent, calling it the final holdout.
Lee said others from the bookstore are prepared to bail their friends out of jail should they be arrested.
Robert Dyer, 23, of Sacramento stood with a group of about a few dozen protesters encircling the last symbolic tent in front of City Hall.
He said he had come from Occupy movements in New Orleans and Occupy Nebraska among others.
With a large bushy blond beard and piercings, he locked arms with the others. They placed ear plugs in each others ears to ward off any sound attacks from police. He said he was not afraid of being arrested, though this would be his first time as part of the movement. He arrived Monday.
"The reason I am here is I don't think that we have to change our government, we have to change the people who run it."
"I know what I am doing is right, and they are two blocks away, so I have to put my gear on...," Dyer said.
-- Andrew Blankstein, Joel Rubin, Ricardo Lopez, Armand Emamdjomeh, Jason Song and Alejandro Lazo at City Hall
Photo: Occupy L.A. protesters rally Tuesday night outside City Hall in downtown Los Angeles.
Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times