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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Occupy L.A. Plans Oct. 1 Downtown March For Anniversary

Michael Juliani |
September 25, 2012 | 1:37 p.m. PDT

Assistant News Editor

Jessica Rey (right-middle) talks at the General Assembly meeting.  (Courtesy of Mehrdad Mahdavi)
Jessica Rey (right-middle) talks at the General Assembly meeting. (Courtesy of Mehrdad Mahdavi)

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday night, the Occupy Los Angeles General Assembly meets at Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles.

On Monday night, several Occupiers drove in from the site of Fort Hernandez, a foreclosed home in Van Nuys that Occupy L.A. has occupied, protecting the Hernandez family of nine from being physically removed from their home.

The group at Pershing Square is made up of all types--many socio-economic backgrounds, all ethnicities and different levels of education.

Many there live full-time as part of Occupy collectives downtown or at Fort Hernandez.

Several who exist on the periphery of the General Assembly live on the streets, and others drive in from suburbs to have their voices heard.

"Don't make us evil villains because we make more money than you do," a woman from Rancho Cucamonga said.

"We don't hate you!" the group reassured.

When others are speaking, the Occupiers put their hands up and wave their fingers if they agree with something being said. 

According to Jessica Rey, a 23-year-old Occupier who participates in the planning meetings that happen before the General Assembly meetings at seven o'clock, Occupy L.A. will have a march on Oct. 1 as part of the one-year anniversary of the movement.

It will start at Pershing Square from 12 to 2 p.m., where a spoken word performance will take place, and it will move to several different financial "targets" around the downtown area.

Rey said that the government has learned since the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s that protests can be shut down by requiring permits for marches and even for things like using megaphones.  

"The reason why Occupy has so many arrests is that the fundamental contradiction is that we assemble but we don't get permits," Rey said.

According to Rey, different Occupy factions disagree on whether they should obtain permits.  

A graduate of the University of Southern California, where she majored in Gender Studies and Comparative Literature, Rey spoke while having a cigarette on the sidewalk on West 6th Street.

The Pershing Square security and the police enforce a no-smoking policy inside the park.

Every half and hour or so, a black-and-white LAPD squad car pulls through the park, watching the Occupiers and keeping an eye on the homeless who make the park their home.


Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage of Occupy L.A. here.

Reach Assistant News Editor Michael Juliani here.  Follow him on Twitter here.



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