Occupy L.A. protesters seem resigned to eviction by LAPD
A day after officials announced that they would begin clearing out the Occupy L.A. camp Monday morning, there was a sense at the City Hall camp Saturday that eviction was a foregone conclusion.
The question was how many people would stay behind to resist, and would they do so peacefully. On Saturday morning, Clark Davis, an activist, walked among the encampments and reminded people about the city’s deadline to move, informed them about civil disobedience training taking place later in the day and told them there would be an early evening screening of a documentary, “A Force More Powerful,” about international nonviolent resistance movements.
“The mood I’m getting is that everyone is pretty much ready for this thing and obviously they’re going to behave in a way they deem appropriate for this situation,” he said. “But I do get a sense that even if they’re not really part of the movement, they’re hopefully going to stick with this concept of nonviolence … Most people are aware of what’s going on and most people seem intent on not caving in and just surrendering and packing their stuff and getting out of here. In the next 24 hours, I think we’ll have a better sense of how many people are really committed to this idea of staying behind and getting arrested.”
PJ Davenport, another Occupy L.A. activist, said though some people would stay behind and be arrested, others would probably support the movement from the sidelines while others would leave.
“Some people have already left, particularly those people who had no political reason for being on the premises,” she said.
Davenport said many activists were surprised by the mayor’s announcement, which she said came in the wake of very gracious treatment not only from the city but from the Los Angeles Police Department, which she said has maintained a hands-off policy for the encampment.
“We now question whether they were ever sincere to begin with,” she said. “There’s going to be evictions unless something dramatically changes.”
Davenport said she hoped that whatever happened, nonviolence would prevail.
“If a person becomes violent hopefully they’re quickly removed from the group, and we’ve asked for this all along, to remove any violence,” she said. “The police officers made it clear to us that we were free to perform citizens’ arrests inside the encampment and bring offenders to them. But we don’t carry guns or badges or handcuffs and when I personally asked one of the LAPD commanders why they wouldn’t enforce the law inside the camp, they said very succinctly that it would be a PR nightmare for the LAPD.”
-- Hector Becerra
Photo: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, left, and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck hold a news conference Friday to announce plans to close the City Hall park to Occupy protesters. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times