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LAPD, Occupy protesters clash over chalk-drawing demonstration

July 13, 2012 |  2:20 am


This post has been corrected; see note at bottom for details.

 Two police officers were hurt in downtown Los Angeles late Thursday in a clash between police and Occupy L.A. protesters.

The unrest prompted a Los Angeles Police Department tactical alert that sent hundreds of officers streaming into downtown.

The problems appeared to have stemmed from a sidewalk chalk-drawing demonstration, witnesses said.

A woman who identified herself as part of Occupy L.A. said protesters attended the monthly L.A. ArtWalk on Thursday night with the intention of showing support for people previously arrested for chalking on the sidewalk. A Facebook event advertised the planned demonstration.

Some of the messages written at the intersection of Spring and 5th streets included "May the youth rise" and "End the Fed."

"We were handing out free chalk for freedom of speech," said Cheryl Aichele, 34, a member of Occupy L.A.

Police arrived at the intersection shortly before 10 p.m. to move protesters blocking the street. At one point, an unidentified man tossed a glass bottle over his shoulder that landed in front of a line of LAPD officers gathered on Spring Street between 4th and 5th streets. Another man was shot with what appeared to be a non-lethal weapon, witnesses said.

Police used batons and non-lethal projectiles to disperse the crowd, which in turn threw bottles and cans at officers and chanted, "Whose streets? Our streets!"

Hundreds of officers in riot gear systematically moved the crowd away block by block as people gathered in the windows of nearby apartments and bars to watch and snap cellphone pictures.

"I came down for ArtWalk and it turned into this," said 25-year-old Susan Enciso.

[For the Record, 7:24 a.m.: A previous version of this post stated the man who threw a glass bottle that landed in front of police officers had been shot with a non-lethal weapon. It was another man who was hit with the non-lethal weapon.] 

Occupy L.A. Chalk Walk sparks melee

Storified by Kimi Yoshino · Thu, Jul 12 2012 23:25:42

Police in riot gear and several dozen people squared off Thursday evening during downtown Los Angeles' monthly ArtWalk. Some of the protest appeared to be inspired by Occupy L.A., which was sponsoring a Chalk Walk. 
It's not too late to come out to our first ever Chalk Walk! We will be handing out free chalk for free speech!-GR http://pic.twitter.com/2729zU8s#OccupyLA
Downtown L.A. melee stemmed from sidewalk chalk demonstrationThe melee that broke out in downtown Los Angeles late Thursday between police and Occupy L.A. protesters appeared to have stemmed from a ...
Chalk art at art walk - #Chalkwalk #ArtWalk #DTLA http://pic.twitter.com/byKzvJwaJuan Carlos Sanchez
#ChalkWalk http://pic.twitter.com/lNVtU1l4★Moяa★
As the evening progress, people began filling the streets. Police reported that demonstrators were throwing bottles and rocks at officers.
[Live] People now filling the streets as LAPD in tactical gear are putting on facemasks,Crowds chanting "Whose streets! Our Streets!" -GR#OccupyLA
What the heck is going on in DTLA? Artwalk gone wrong? Crowd all in the middle of spring street. Traffic officer saying She's pulling backArmand Emamdjomeh
This is what #DTLA looks like right now on Spring http://pic.twitter.com/r0WLVuXaNancy Casanova
Several hundred #LAPD officers called in to deal with the scrum on Sprint Street. Crowd was estimated 1,000-2,000 http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/07/ #DTLAAndrew Blankstein
Arrests reported as police close streets at downtown L.A. ArtWalkPolice in riot gear and several dozen people squared off Thursday evening during downtown Los Angeles' monthly ArtWalk. Law enforcement s...
[Live!] LAPD taking care of crime? Chalking is NOT a crime! -GR http://ustre.am/Gl7u#OccupyLA
As the drama escalated, police fired rubber bullets.
[Live] Cops now shooting rubber bullets at THE PEOPLE. http://www.ustream.tv/channel/pmbeers#OccupyLA
Man displaying rubber bullet wound on his chest.| @ktytmf12: Cops firing rubber bullets http://pic.twitter.com/Gv0kuaq8Anonymous
The police presence prompted immediate criticism, although not everyone supported the protesters.
Hey @LAPD, RE: chalk, free speech, right to assemble, and common sense.Greg Burge
@LAPD really?- pointing weapons at ppl for chalking on the sidewalk? WoW, This too is AMERICA. #occupyLAB. Dennis
Thank you @OccupyLA for turning #Artwalk into your own political launching pad for provoking the police! Way to go losers.Lex
By 11 p.m., most of the activity had subsided.
All that's left against LAPD ... a phalanx of bicyclists. #ArtWalkLA #bikeLA http://pic.twitter.com/cH5G5RrpArmand Emamdjomeh
Red + Purple Lines bypassing Pershing Sq due to civil disturbance in area. Buses throughout Downtown detoured+delayed until roads reopen ^STmetrolosangeles
All quiet on the Southern front.Armand Emamdjomeh


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