Occupy L.A. Continues After Oakland Clash
Protests in Oakland took a violent turn after police fired tear gas and wooden projectiles into the group camped in a park near City Hall. Officers made dozens of arrests and erected a fence around the park; it has since been removed.
The Occupy L.A. movement has had a largely positive relationship with city officials. However, tensions arose recently between politicians and protest organizers. A meeting on Oct. 26 between the two camps centered around Oakland’s fate in the hands of the police, who say drug abuse, sexual assault and sanitation concerns are grounds for disassembling.
In L.A., protest organizers and activists are determined to maintain a safe and sanitary assembly.
“No tolerance for drug or alcohol abuse. No tolerance! No tolerance for abuse of personal or public property! And three, no tolerance for violence or disruption to the process! This is a political action that involves more than you,” said Occupy L.A. participant Kwazi Nkrumah.
Other members of the L.A. movement shared similar sentiments. Elema Brown, a recent graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, is hesitant to use the porta potties set up for the camp, but she feels like as a whole, the grounds are sanitary and safe.
“I’m sure there’s drug abuse. It’s just a part of the culture of progressives, but I haven’t seen anything too bad. I feel pretty comfortable here,” Brown said. The sociology major joined Occupy L.A. after struggling to find work since graduation. Having gone to school in the Bay Area, she is concerned about the protest in Oakland.
“I feel like a lot of people are aware, and it’s important to stay aware of what’s going on in other cities. When you’re in a movement like this, you don't want to just think about yourself. You want to think of the other groups and how the movement is progressing,” said Brown, who also participated in activism in Santa Cruz.
Larry Mullin, an unemployed high school American studies and government teacher, said protestors in Oakland were abused and their constitutional rights were violated.
“We have the right to peacefully assemble. It’s in the first amendment of the constitution. You don’t get to ignore the constitution,” he said.
Mullin, who taught in Richmond, a city neighboring Oakland, noticed others were paying close attention to the sister protest.
“I have seen a lot of concern and empathy for the people in Oakland. Everyone who is involved with Occupy L.A. is watching Oakland," Mullin said, "because we figured we will be next.”
Reach staff reporter Jerry here.
Best way to find more great content from Neon Tommy?
Or join our email list below to enjoy Neon Tommy News Alerts.