Occupy L.A.: Some protesters prepare for tear gas, others leave
Police were creating a perimeter at 1st and Main streets, while the crowd chanted: "We are peaceful." Officers have deployed across Main Street, blocking it off.
Earlier, protesters had placed an orange bucket in the intersection.
"If they fire tear gas, put [the canister] in the bucket," a protester said into a bullhorn. "But not with your bare hands!"
"The best way to protect the camp is to stand our ground here on the street," another said.
Others, however, were antagonizing police.
"It's just a job! Remember that! You're … people!" shouted one protester at a line of Los Angeles officers in riot gear.
Joe Gonzalez has been at Occupy L.A. for a month and a half, kicking in a tent, making friends, having a few trysts, rolling in the free stuff handed out and, unfortunately, falling back on some bad habits.
But now, he's packing up. The party's over. "I don't want to go to jail," said Gonzalez, 43, of Sylmar. "I don't want anything on my record."
Gonzalez said he's a meth addict, attempting to recover with God's help. The drugs at the camp -- meth, crack, weed, pills -- have tempted him, he said.
"The point of being out here," he said, is "to party and to have no disturbances by police, and have your tent up day and night without having to take it down."
He was certainly packing more than he came with, including 15 more tents. He planned to go up a few blocks and rent them out as private spaces to get high, making a few bucks for a few minutes.
"Life is good, you know," he said.
--- Jason Song, Ricardo Lopez, Rick Rojas, Joel Rubin, and Alejandro Lazo
Photo: Police officers enter the Occupy L.A. encampment at City Hall.
Credit: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times