Occupy L.A. Hits City Hall
The Occupy Los Angeles movement kicked off Saturday as protsters marched to City Hall.
Crowd esimates ranged from several hundred to a few thousand. The L.A. march was peaceful but some 400 were arrested at the New York march when protesters attempted to block the Brooklyn Birdge, according to Reuters.
The L.A. Weekly has a series of slideshows from the march in the City of Angels.
The protest follows similar events in New York and San Francisco. The protesters assembled at Pershing Square in Downtown L.A. after largely organizing through the use of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. With more than 3,000 people ‘attending’ the event on Facebook, it was no surprise that the square was crowded with people with pickets and stalls soon after shortly after 10 a.m.
Youth aged 18 to 30 constituted a large percentage of the body, but there were people of all ages and economic backgrounds at the protest. Their main demand was for transparency of the distribution of national resources and the monetary system, and for the government to give higher priority to the average citizen than to large corporations.
Many of the protesters had personal reasons for participating in Occupy L.A.
Sky, a student at Santa Monica College, was against the cuts in education and social security that were starting to take a serious toll on her life and studies.
“The crisis is not only affecting people of our country, but it’s also affecting education,” she said. “With my college, we might not even have the winter semester. Even if we do, they’re gonna cut out a lot of classes.”
The government’s massive spending on wars was a big issue at the protest, with many of the speakers, such as Kevin Baker, who spent eight years in Iraq, decrying the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan as a ‘joke’.
Another protester, Gerome, came to the protest especially for this cause.
“I’m here to put an end to the war and to the corporate dream,” he said. “I want the government to give us protection; I want an end to corporate greed, which is basically driving the war. I want the education system to be revamped, so people are ‘re-educated’ about how exactly the economic system of the country is exploiting them.”
As the protest set up outside City Hall, the number of protesters had significantly increased to a few thousand. The atmosphere was energetic and lively, with people shouting slogans and hoisting their signs, with music in the background. The speakers got a lot of applause and support from the crowd. Onlookers seemed to support the protest as well, many taking pictures, and some even joining in on the protest.
Peta Lindsay, a graduate student at the Rossier School at USC, said, “Even though the US is the richest country in the world, there is no money for the things that people need. The money is there, but it’s all in the pockets of the corporations and billionaire; it has funded years of occupation at Afghanistan, killing people going through the same things as us. But now, people are coming out, we are organizing, and we are demanding change.”
With many protesters looking forward to the day’s events and many planning to sleep in the area overnight, the protest showed few signs of dying down. Throngs of people with signs could still be seen coming to the event hours after the event started. The organizers were satisfied. Lindsay remarked, “I think the turnout is great, and it is a success simply because it has excited the imagination of so many people.”
Reach Raunak here.