Thursday, November 17, 2011

Downtown LA Protests

This is what I encountered on my way to work this morning: A large crowd of protesters chanting and watching a small group camped in the middle of the street, who were planning to get arrested. Organizers with bullhorns warned members of the crowd to keep to the sidewalks if they did not want to be part of the planned civil disobedience. The vast majority stayed where they were supposed to. The police waited patiently for the decision to proceed with the arrests. 

I would almost describe the mood as festive, and that is not to denigrate the serious purpose of many of these protesters. Still, there was little menace or threat in the air, only a raucous crowd and an expectant feeling. I didn't stick around to watch the forces of law and order make their move.

I later learned that the police made a couple of dozen arrests, presumably of the people who were essentially asking to be arrested. Maybe it's LA; maybe it's our finally-more-enlightened police department; or maybe it's this particular group of protesters associated with Occupy LA, but my city has somehow managed so far to avoid the ugliness that has shown itself in some other cities' responses to the occupy movement.

(top two photos from my cellphone; bottom photo from LA Times)

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