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‘Orchestrated’ arrests in downtown L.A. protest, police say

November 17, 2011 | 10:07 am

Police take a protester into custody

In what police called an "orchestrated series of arrests," nearly 100 police in riot gear moved in to arrest 23 protesters who locked arms around tents in the middle of Figueroa Street to protest financial inequality.

Police moved slowly, carting protesters away one-by-one in plastic handcuffs. Several protesters had to be carried.

The first to be arrested was labor union member Bertha Jordan, who is 82 years old.

PHOTOS: Day of protest

It was a highly choreographed event.

"It is a totally orchestrated series of arrests," said Los Angeles Police Cmdr. Andrew Smith. "The arrestees knew they would be detained."

Police spent half an hour talking with protesters before moving in.

At 9:15, police declared the protest an unlawful assembly and called on demonstrators to disperse.

Some protesters refused, instead sitting down in a circle around three tents printed with the slogan: "We are the 99%."

Several other protesters who hadn't planned originally on being arrested joined them.

Among them was Nancy Linehan Charles, 68, who said the spirit of the protest moved her. "I just decided, 'The hell with it,' " she said.

As the police carted away protesters and put them in paddy wagons, the crowd cheered them on.

A man with a microphone asked the crowd to cheer them. "Our brothers and sisters are going to jail for us, for our children, for America," he said.

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-- Kate Linthicum and Richard Winton

Photo: Police take a protester into custody. Credit: KTLA

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