Occupy L.A. rejects last-ditch plea to leave City Hall
The standoff sets the stage for a possible confrontation just after midnight — the deadline authorities set for clearing the park.
“Until the grievances of the 99% are addressed to end corporate control of the system, the government and the media, Occupy L.A. will be here exercising our 1st Amendment rights and petition for our grievances,” said Julie Levine, acting as one of several spokespeople for Occupy L.A., which is loosely organized.
Levine and others addressed the media and onlookers shortly after Councilman Bill Rosendahl urged them to make “a peaceful transition from this land to action.” Rosendahl pledged that city officials would try to address their demands and also would provide space outside City Hall for gatherings that would have to end each night by 10:30 p.m.
Rosendahl deserved respect for addressing a sometimes combative gathering, but his message was underwhelming, demonstrators said.
The offer must be rejected because the current system is broken and working within it would not produce effective change, Levine said.
“We have a long-term plan,” she said. “We want to build a mass movement of the 99% to take back the entire system from the corporations that control it.”
The movement, which speaks of representing 99% of Americans by opposing economic inequality and corporate greed, has resisted making specific demands—-in part because various Occupy strongholds have tried to make decisions by consensus at general assemblies, a difficult strategy for narrowing down or sanctioning goals.
Encampments spread nationwide after Occupy Wall Street moved into New York City’s financial district. L.A. is the largest remaining outpost after authorities closed down around-the-clock protests in New York City and elsewhere.
In L.A., the seven-week effort should not be placed on a daily timetable to accommodate authorities, said Summer Reese, chairwoman of the national board for the Pacifica Foundation public broadcasting network, who was helping organize demonstrators Sunday.
“It’s important to truly exercise one’s constitutional rights,” said Reese, who was not speaking on behalf of Pacifica. “We need a public space where we can do this 24/7, not on a permitted basis a few hours of the day.”
Tactically, some organizers spoke of filing for an injunction to halt any attempt by police to dismantle the encampment. But for now, both authorities and demonstrators are bracing for a possible confrontation after midnight.
-- Teresa Watanabe and Howard Blume
Photo: Pat Norris, left, and friend Kevin Maloney, both 25 and from Portland, Ore., pack up their belongings as they face a possible eviction at City Hall in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011. Credit: Christina House / For The Times