The Tree People were the last casualties of the LAPD midnight raid. They were finally removed with bean bags in what turned out to be the most dramatic event of the evening. Despite the fact that more than 200 people were arrested, there wasn't much in the way of violent confrontations. Over a thousand LAPD officers remaining calm and reserved throughout. To be fair, LAPD exhibited none of the tendencies that have plagued other agencies who appeared eager and willing to use force whenever possible.
“Police Commander Andrew Smith said about 200 people were arrested, mostly hold-outs who defied orders to clear the area. Several were removed from trees.”
As the cops moved from Dodger Stadium, others that were already inside City Hall exited to the South Lawn, then spread out to clear the park. Once the protesters were forced to exit, they found thousands of others already cornered by cops who had set up a perimeter that extended for blocks; no one was allowed in or out of the area once the operation commenced. In fact, not only were people arriving to assist blocked, those who tried to leave just prior to the raid were only allowed to leave with police permission.
Just after the raid commenced, the Mayor issued the following statement:
MAYOR VILLARAIGOSA ISSUES STATEMENT ON ENFORCEMENT OF CITY HALL PARK CLOSURE
LOS ANGELES - "At approximately 12:30 a.m., the LAPD began enforcing the closure of City Hall Park after giving those in the park a final opportunity to leave without facing arrest.
“We have taken a measured approach to enforcing the park closure because we have wanted to give people every opportunity to leave peacefully. I ask that anyone who remains in the park to please leave voluntarily.
“Our approach also recognized the human need in the encampment. Since the park closure was announced on Friday, outreach workers with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority have walked through the park, assessing needs and connecting interested individuals in need with an alternative place to spend the night.
“During the park closure, a First Amendment area will remain open on the Spring Street City Hall steps.
“Once the park is cleared, it will be repaired and returned to all Angelenos to exercise their First Amendment rights."
From Los Angeles Times:
“Los Angeles police are being praised for their planning, outreach and judicious use of force in ousting the Occupy L.A. encampment Wednesday morning, but a few protesters are reporting more physical confrontations with some of the 1,400 officers.
“In a KCAL 9 video, now posted on YouTube, Tyson Heder, 25, was taking pictures of the eviction, when a police officer shoved him away. The video showed Heder then standing up, yelling at the officer, then being forced to the ground by several policemen.
“His sister, Christy Collins, said Heder was in custody Wednesday morning.”
Raw video of raid on encampment:
The Occupation Movement has not suffered a serious setback. Frankly, the City Hall lawn was becoming rather stagnant, and much of the message was lost in the background noise and distractions that accompanied the encampment there. We were, for example, never staffed or funded to provide social services. (Just prior to the raid, there was no indication that social service agencies had sent personnel as promised). The issues that plagued the encampment have little to do with the political elements or the objectives of Occupy Wall Street and its followers.
The message remains the same. A regrouping meeting is being held today, and there will be announcement here after that. No doubt many contributors will also be posting their accounts today. The Morning Report will be updated regularly today, as occupiers document their experiences and hopefully provide some examples of their work. There is a rumor circulating that Tom Morello may attend the General Assembly meeting, or if necessary, a meeting to discuss the direction of the movement going forward. Thanks Tom. Sounds like a great idea.
Meeting at Pershing Square at 4 PM confirmed. March to City Hall for General Assembly at 7:30.
This video from Margot Paez from last night. Great work, as usual:
Mark, who was last seen camping in the tree, was indeed arrested last night. He remains in custody along with more than 275 occupiers and bystanders who have said they were basically penned in by LAPD, then arrested.
Tonight's General Assembly was held as scheduled. The regrouping process continues tomorrow. Here's more video from Reason TV, today's last add: