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Occupy L.A. protester traded life in condo to join tent village

November 28, 2011 |  1:55 am

At first, Tony Maldonado’s participation was slight.

Over the past seven weeks, Maldonado, 45, would stop by the Occupy L.A. encampment at City Hall to deliver coffee and donuts, but then curiosity got the best of him.

Maldonado, a filmmaker, swapped his contemporary Silverlake condo on November 11 for a tent on the lawn at City Hall. More than 1,000 Occupy L.A. protesters have participated in the campaign against economic injustice.

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"I wanted to see what was taking place here," Maldonado said.

He spent Thanksgiving here because he said he's been angry about the growing income disparity in the country. He was among the hundreds of protesters who remained at City Hall park in defiance of an order to clear the park as it was officially shutdown at midnight Sunday.  

Maldonado said he has stopped spending money on extras like foreign travel, new clothes and dinner out because he's worried about the state of the economy.

"Those little things are gone," he said. "I consider those real luxuries."

He said that he is frustrated with the direction the country is moving in. 

"Politicians are no longer working for the public, they are working for the lobbyists," he said.


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Photo:Occupy L.A. protesters at City Hall shortly before the midnight deadline. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times