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Occupy L.A. Resurfaces For May Day

Lauren Foliart |
May 1, 2012 | 6:46 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter



Updated at 8:30 p.m.

In what seemed like more of a party than a May Day protest, the Occupy L.A. encampment reappeared on Main Street in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday.  Local demonstrators provided food, music and anarchist literature for a scheduled convergence of the movement's dispersed branches.  

"Those of us who live around downtown are in charge of making sure the meeting spot is ready when the different winds come together," said L.A. Occupant Emily Wilts.

Wilts is referring to the "four winds" of Occupy L.A. -- all independently organized in their respective directions of north, south, east and west of Los Angeles before unifying downtown.  They traveled from Van Nuys in the north, Santa Monica in the west, CSU Dominguiez Hills in the south and East Los Angeles Community College in the east. 

Though the "winds" scheduled to blow through downtown at 2:30 p.m. were a fashionable hour late, they arrived just in time to march together into downtown's financial district.  They then made their way to the 7 p.m. May Day general assembly at Pershing Square.

"Who's streets? Our streets!" Occupy L.A. participants chanted as they marched together across the streets that had grown so accustomed to their chants six months ago.

Their May Day meeting was the first big rally since the tent dwellers evacuated City Hall's lawn in late November. 

Occupy L.A. wasn't the only part of the Occupy movement to join May Day protests.  Organizers reinstated their presence in 125 cities across the country, coming together for what they called a "day without the 99 percent."

Over eight months since the movement started in lower Manhattan, today's protests tested the longevity of occupants and their fight for equality.  In Los Angeles, the fight might have become separated by distance but the community has tightened. 

"I started protesting last July because of police brutality…  Now I fight against all injustice," said Susan Brodbeck Cameron of Fullerton. 

Cameron became disenchanted with police after the beating of Kelly Thomas, a homeless man in Orange County, who she says was a friend.  When Occupy L.A. came together last fall, Cameron was one of the first to pitch a tent on October 1.

"I see all of the [other] problems that [Occupy L.A.] has brought to my attention," she said  "It's now my turn to bring them to other people's attention."

Tuesday's revelry echoed the energy City Hall's lawns are still recovering from.  Several of Occupy L.A.'s main characters came back once again to paint the portrait of protest.  Recognizable faces included the engineer who builds geometric figures out of twigs and the outgoing staff of The Revolution, a communist newspaper.

New to the protest was Occupy Skid Row.  Gathered on the other side of Main Street next to the L.A. Community Action Network, protesters came together to shed light on the mistreatment of the homeless community. 

According to the Occupy May 1st website, the proximity of the convergence to Skid Row was a deliberate choice on the part of organizers because they wanted to share food and resources with L.A.'s homeless.


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