Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Journal of a Mother Lode and L.A. Resident Arrested at Occupy L.A.: Post 2

By John Pulskamp

On Sunday November 27 it appeared that LAPD would raid the encampment that night. Mayor Villaraigosa, although he had initially supported Occupy Los Angeles and the encampment, had made statements that the park would be cleared that night. I had been in Amador County for Thanksgiving, but left at noon on the 27th to drive back to southern California. Holiday traffic resulted in my not getting to City Hall until 11:15 p.m. A couple of thousand Occupy Los Angeles supporters filled the camp and surrounding streets making it impossible for LAPD to move on the camp without it getting very ugly. Eventually LAPD withdrew after clearing the streets, but without attacking the camp. Thanks to the presence of all those supporters, the park was held against the 12:01 a.m. deadline that had been announced by the mayor.

I was in Solidarity Park through the night and most of Monday, the next day. On Monday the crowds were not as large as they had been the night before, but there were still quite a few people there, and the police did not attack. I had not had any sleep since early Sunday morning, so Monday evening I went back to my home in the San Fernando Valley and got about five hours sleep.

Late in the day of Tuesday, November 29 I returned to City Hall. There was a particular tent we had decided to symbolically protect from being removed. We formed concentric circles around the tent and sat down. Various reports of the numbers of Occupiers in the circles range from 50, 75, and up to 100. I was in the innermost circle right against the tent. Those in the circles locked arms and sat peacefully.

Line of LAPD squad cars.
I wasn’t sure what to expect in the event the police were to come in. I have seen LAPD dish out some pretty heave “street justice” on other occasions. I didn’t think it likely that they would use gas or pepper spray, mostly because of all the bad press resulting from the police use of pepper spray at U.C. Davis just a few days earlier, but I wasn’t sure. Someone from the Occupy Los Angeles supply tent gave me a bandana soaked in vinegar, which I was told would help in the event of pepper spray. I was also given some earplugs because there was concern that the police might use loud, damaging sound to force disbursement.
I was not wearing a watch so I am not sure of the times of anything that happened that night. It was sometime around midnight I think when the police began the attack. There was lots of noise, and protesters were chanting. Because of the noise, the chanting, and the earplugs I couldn’t make out clearly what was being said, but there had suddenly been a lot of yelling and people running in various directions. With that I assumed the police were moving in, and in short order that was confirmed, as we were quickly surrounded by a hoard of police in riot gear with some pointing weapons at us.