Occupy LA: “Oh No! We Won’t Go!” Mayor Says “11/28 at 12:01am Park Will Be Shut Down”
In their official statement below, Occupy Los Angeles has declared they will not leave City Hall. And they state:
All forms of weaponry used by multiple law enforcement officials – including, but not limited, to rubber bullets, pepper spray, verbal abuse, arrest, foam batons, tear gas, long-range acoustic devices and more – are not to be used on those exercising their First Amendment Rights to petition our government for redress of grievances.
At a press conference this afternoon broadcast live on ABC 7 (a truncated version here), Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said:
The Occupy encampments have changed the one-sided conversation, the movement has awakened the country’s conscience…After this initial success the movement is now at cross roads. It is time for Occupy LA to movement from this piece of parkland.
He cited public health, public safety and the security of encampment, emphasizing:
It is time to close the park and restore this to a public park.
Responding to a mic check reading of a portion of the statement below, Villaraigosa pointed out that he gave nine acres of city land in Watts as a community garden when the South Central Garden was shut down. He then announced that
at 12:01 Monday morning, November 28 the law would be enforced,
and that the police are prepared to make arrests, but that is not the intent, as the city is providing time and advance notice, as well as fifty beds for the homeless. Villaraigosa went on to say that workers from general services would be passing out bilingual fliers and that social workers are working with the Occupiers to fill the shelter beds for homeless, while nearby parking would be available for those who are moving. He said the city wants to
Honor the spirit of free expression and keep Spring Street steps open during the park rehab for free speech so participants of Occupy and all other Angelenos will have access to this vital free speech spot.
He praised Occupy, urging peace and and praising the social justice of Occupy hoping that the movement will create an environment so
all fellow residents can use their God given right to achieve.
Chief Beck then spoke:
Occupy protestors have been law abiding, respectful by and large for 56 days.
He said that the police had not enforced city laws regarding the park and now it was time to go, adding that it was not sustainable in terms of public safety and health
This doesn’t mean the Occupy message will end. The steps are available. It’s time to grow the message in different medium.
Beck says the order doesn’t mean the LAPD will necessarily physically remove people, but they will enforce the law. He said they are giving ample time for people to move their stuff, clear tents and take property off lawn. The homeless will get every opportunity to take advantage of fifty beds, followed by fifty more later in the week. He stated:
If we make arrests it will be the people who won’t go, not the people who haven’t had time to go.
Villaraigos spoke again, stating:
The goal is to make this as peaceably as possible and to honor the experience we have had here. We are going to this is a way that is respectful.
When asked by a reporter why the protesters had been allow to stay so long, Chief Beck responded:
This is a national movement which the City of Los Angeles wanted to accommodate. They have had fifty-six days to put forth messages in a public park, which by the way, no one else has been able to use.
Villaraigosa then said
This is a collective decision, a decision I made talking with the Chief, General Services and others…I take full responsibility.
A representative of the OLA Kids’ Camp expressed concern that it might take them longer to get all their toys, supplies and other items together, so they may not be able to get out at 12:01 am, that it might take them 72 hours, and that they didn’t want to be involved in any violence because there were children in the camp. Beck replied that he understood and if officers saw a reasonable amount of effort to move, things would be fine:
This has been a peaceful movement. That has been mutual, it is important that we show that the City of LA knows how to do this, and realizes importance of the First Amendment.
Beck refused to to rise to the bait of some reporters who wanted to know what exactly the police would do. Both officials were mic checked and portions of the GA statement read.
Assembly-authored City response
MODIFIED, CONSENTED TO VERSION
Type: Public Statement
Proposed by: The Los Angeles General Assembly
History: passed with full consensus at GA on Wednesday 11/23/2011. The language, ideas and grievances contained herein were culled from the minutes of 2 special City Liaison Committee Meetings, 2 General Assemblies devoted to the issue, one meeting with the Demands & Objectives Committee, consultation with Media and PR, and widely circulated and amended by the online community of occupiers, and adapted into its current form by the General Assembly on 11/23/2011.
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY’S RESPONSE TO THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES
Para Todos Todo, Para Nosotros Nada: For Everyone, Everything, For Us, Nothing
(This group-authored response to be read tonight at General Assembly by The Occupiers. If consented upon, this response is to be disseminated as a press release, and ‘mic-checked’, in person, by the Occupiers themselves, on Tuesday 29th November 2011 [wrongly read as Monday 28th November at GA] in the City Council Meeting of that date)
As a collective, Occupy Los Angeles would like to express their rejection of the City of Los Angeles’ alleged proposal that we leave City Hall by November 28th, 2011, in exchange for an apparently now rescinded offer of a 10,000 square foot building, farmland and 100 SRO beds for the homeless.
Occupy Los Angeles believes that as part of a global movement advocating direct, participatory democracy, and challenging economic and social injustices, our position is such that we cannot, in all good faith, accept further material benefit from City Hall at the taxpayer’s expense without seriously compromising our beliefs, our desire for global change, and our commitment to our inherent human rights to free speech and assembly protected in this country by First Amendment Rights. The 1 percent should be paying for any services used by the Occupy Movement, not taxpayers.
In the spirit of inclusivity and transparency which is so dear to our movement, Occupy Los Angeles extends an invitation to Mayor Villaraigosa and the City Council to attend our General Assemblies at the City Hall Occupation if he wishes to discuss these and other matters in a direct, democratic and horizontal way. Mayor Villaraigosa must speak out against the violent actions towards our brothers and sisters, declare the actions of other cities to be unjust, and stand before us equally at a General Assembly. Occupy Los Angeles believes that until this happens, we should have no more closed-door discussions regarding our continuing occupation of City Hall.
The City Council – in line with government in general – is an authority which is more accountable to developers and corporations than the public. The very act of the Los Angeles City Council requesting the physical removal of Los Angeles Occupiers without redressing the grievances which were specifically referenced in the inclusion of our adopted ‘Declaration of the Occupation of New York City’, and in the City Council’s ’1st Amendment Rights / Occupy Los Angeles / Responsible Banking Resolution’ — is in effect supporting the removal of all Occupations from public space by any means. We cannot negotiate with such an institution without undermining our sister occupations across the globe who are suffering from oppressive force and attacks upon their inherent human rights to free speech and assembly, protected in this country under the First Amendment. We refer here to episodes in Oakland, Boston, New York, Portland, UC Davis and San Francisco, to name but a few. We refer to those further afield, in Tahrir Square in Egypt, in Madrid, Greece, London and more. Teargas, pepper spray, beatings, jail, suppression and intimidation have been used as a coercive method of silencing our movement and our desire for global change.
We reject outright the City’s attempts to lure us out of City Hall and into negotiations by offering us nebulous, non-transparent and unconfirmed offers which fail to even begin to address our local grievances. We will continue to occupy this space, in solidarity with our global movement, until the forces of the few are forced to capitulate to the power of the people.
When the following grievances have been addressed – grievances which we have agreed upon as a movement through our General Assembly as advancing our cause and providing for the people of Los Angeles – we as a movement will be happy to initiate dialogue with the Mayor and Los Angeles City Council. An office space of 10,000 square feet would not have addressed these grievances. While the grievances listed below are localized, we believe that they promote the underlying foundations and principles of our movement, which include, but are not limited to: providing for basic, fundamental and inalienable human rights such as shelter, food, healthcare, freedom of choice, sexual orientation, gender equality and education — and the right most paramount to a free and democratic society — the right to self-govern. Detailed demands which encompass our greater world view will be released at a later date by our Demands and Objectives Committee through the General Assembly.
GRIEVANCES NOT ADDRESSED
A moratorium on all foreclosures in the City of Los Angeles. The City of Los Angeles to divest from all major banks, and money to be removed from politics.
A citywide effort undertaken to solve the homelessness problem which has led to 18,000 homeless people sleeping on Skid Row every night. Rehabilitation and housing must be provided for all homeless people.
South Central Farm to be returned to the same LA community from which it was taken, and all other vacant and distressed land be open for the community use, and money to the tune of 1 million dollars – taken from Skid Row and given to a multi-million dollar NFL firm – to be returned to Skid Row.
Los Angeles to be declared a sanctuary city for the undocumented, deportations to be discontinued and cooperation with immigration authorities be ended – including the turning in of arrestees’ names to immigration authorities.
All forms of weaponry used by multiple law enforcement officials – including, but not limited, to rubber bullets, pepper spray, verbal abuse, arrest, foam batons, tear gas, long-range acoustic devices and more – are not to be used on those exercising their First Amendment Rights to petition our government for redress of grievances. We do not accept interference with freedom of the press and the public to document police actions in public spaces. We will not tolerate brutality.
We assert our right to an open plaza on the South Side of City Hall for people to peacefully assemble, voice grievances, speak freely, hold our General Assembly and come to the people’s consensus 24 hours a day if needed.
The City of Los Angeles to pressure the State to start a convention, as provided for in the Constitution, to remove corporate personhood and money from politics at a national level.
The City of Los Angeles to begin a dialogue at the State and Federal level on the issues of student debt and tuition hikes.
No cutbacks in city services or attacks on the wages, work conditions and pensions of city employees.
A world class transit system which addresses our debilitating traffic problem and restores the quality of life in Los Angeles.
We conclude, as a General Assembly, by hereby renaming City Hall Park –