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Occupy L.A.: Protesters voluntarily leave, but vow to return

November 30, 2011 |  1:01 am

As police rushed the tattered Occupy L.A. encampment, several protesters decided not to risk arrest or losing their belongings.

Josh Stinson, a 26-year-old from Illinois, had been camping at City Hall Park for a week. He said police rushed the camp from all sides, including from City Hall exits.

Amid the heckling and jostling from a rowdy crowd, Stinson said he was not willing to be arrested.

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"I can't lose my stuff," he said, holding his sleeping bag and clothes.

He said he was surprised with how quickly officers moved. But Stinson said he remains unfazed.

"I'll be back tomorrow," he said.

Protesters Sarah Mason and Scott Shuster did decide to leave because both said they couldn't risk arrest.

Mason, who was arrested during a protest at Bank of America this month, said, "There's no curfew on the 1st Amendment."

A group of city officials and religious leaders stood on the steps of headquarters watching, including Chief Deputy City Atty. William Carter, and religious leaders who on Sunday night called for police restraint when enforcing the eviction.

Others, however, were being held back by police in certain areas. Chase Golding, 26, of Los Feliz, said there was a group of about 70 people surrounding tents and 150 or so other still in park.

But Golding was among those leaving. “I didn’t want to be subjected to violence for exercising my 1st Amendment rights,” Golding said.


LAPD traps hundreds of protesters in camp

Confrontation occurs on Broadway at 1st Street

Some protesters prepare for tear gas, others leave

-- Kate Linthicum, Ricardo Lopez, Alejandro Lazo and Jason Song

Photo: A protester lies down in the street Tuesday night. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times