More Than 1,000 March to City Hall as Occupy LA Gets Underway Downtown
11:30am: Participants in Occupy Los Angeles march toward City Hall.
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — More than a thousand protesters marched to City Hall this morning as part of Occupy Los Angeles, a demonstration against "corporatocracy" held in solidarity with the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protest in New York.
The event began at Pershing Square, where participants gathered to make signs and organize themselves.
Many protesters arrived with ready-made signs, other’s borrowed cardboard and art supplies to make signs at the last minute. Supporters of the group spoke to lay ground rules--no violence and no breaking any laws, they said. The group established their own security team to help keep the peace, and coordinated logistics with LAPD as the march and rally progressed.
Volunteers from the National Lawyers Guild stood up before the group to brief protesters on their legal rights in the event that police should become involved. Rough relations between police and protesters in New York’s demonstration have generated a lot of attention.
“I started watching the feed [of the New York protest] when the cops maced the girls in New York and I have been watching it ever since,” said supporter Tiffany Tabares who was inspired by the Wall Street protests to join in today’s event.
The crowd left Pershing Square around 11 a.m. and began marching down Broadway towards City Hall chanting “They say ‘cut back,’ we say ‘fight back!’” and “Jail them--yes! Bail them--no! Corporate fat cats have to go!” The procession—which kept to the sidewalk—was about eight city blocks long and slowed car traffic along Broadway. Many business owners stepped outside to watch or wave as the crowd passed.
The crowd included protesters of all ages and backgrounds.
Ana L. Hernandez, 19, donned a Guy Fawkes mask, a symbol that is quickly becoming associated with the Occupy movement. "All of these people—all of the taxes they've paid—that's just going straight to the banks to help people that don't need help," she said. "We need to help the people that need the help and not the people that already have money."
Michael Meloan, 60, works as a tech consultant and a writer. He said that he has felt the effects of the ecomony, but knows many more who have been “severely affected.” He hopes the Occupy movement will become “viral” and gain momentum as it spreads across the country.
"I think it's a chance for the left to mobilize in the way similar to how the Tea Party has mobilized, and I think we on the left have not done that very effectively,” Meloan said. “I think the whole financial establishment has taken advantage of us in an incredibly egregious way. I think people are angry and I hope they become angrier and more demonstrative.”
As of 4pm, several hundred participants remained on the South Lawn of City Hall listening to speakers and poets. The Occupy LA organizers have called for protesters to remain at City Hall indefinitely.
blogdowntown will be using our Live Updates to keep track of developments throughout the day.
» Live Updates — Last: October 01, 2011
- 04:02PM Six hours after the event started, still a steady stream of arrivals. Only spotted a handful of tents so far. (ERIC)
- 04:01PM Roughly 200 people from Occupy LA still sitting around City Hall's south lawn, listening to speakers using a portable PA system. (ERIC)
- 02:47PM South Lawn version of Occupy LA is very pastoral. This is probably what City Hall looked like in the 70's. (ERIC)
- 02:23PM Now that the LAPD went there is done, Occupy LA folks are moving over to City Hall's south lawn. (ERIC)
- 12:06PM Things are pretty peaceful and stable at City Hall. Heading out to load photos, but we've got Katherine on-scene talking to folks (ERIC)
- 12:06PM It will be interesting to see how numbers settle out during the day. You've already got people leaving and new people showing up (ERIC)
- 11:45AM It's a good change. Much more room on the north side of the building, set back from the sidewalk. (ERIC)
- 11:43AM They're moving everyone to the City Hall north lawn. (ERIC)
- 11:42AM The march is extremely well organized. Their folks are keeping people on the sidewalk, having dialogue with LAPD, etc. (ERIC)
- 11:38AM City Hall police officers have the crowd confined to the edge of the Spring Street steps. That doesn't seem sustainable. (ERIC)
- 11:24AM Marchers are spread out along the sidewalks, so it's hard to accurately estimate the crowd. Maybe 2k. (ERIC)
- 11:15AM Occupy LA gets marching. We'll be doing live updates at http://t.co/1i9g2O4p (ERIC)