Things have been relatively quiet on the Occupy front, causing some to wonder if the movement is finally and officially winding down. But, on Thursday evening, Occupy Los Angeles reared its head, leading to the familiar scene of police in riot gear showing up en force. The cause of the disturbance? Protesters assembled to host an adult, side-walk chalk protest (yes, you read that correctly).
According to a report from KNBC-TV, hundreds of protesters showed up near Downtown L.A. around 8:40 p.m. Numerous outlets claim that the clash turned violent, with Occupiers throwing objects at cops and with police officers shooting non-lethal rubber bullets into the crowd and arresting some protesters. By 11 p.m., cops ordered the crowd to leave the area -- a request that was met, as per normal, with hostility.
Here's alleged video of a portion of the Occupy incident:
The assembly appeared to be a part of an Occupy-related event that was planned and promoted on social media for Thursday evening. On the Occupy L.A. Facebook page, the following event advertisement was published around 3 p.m. PT yesterday:
[Event] Tonight, #ArtWalk in #DTLA becomes #ChalkWalk! Occupy Los Angeles has had a laughably ridiculous 12 arrests the past 6 weeks for children's sidewalk chalk. Tonight from 7-9pm, occupiers, artists, enthusiasts, rebels, and the intrigued will defend the First Amendment and freedom of speech.
Join Us. We'll have buckets of 1st Amendment Tools, boatloads of smiles, and a smorgasbord of love. Meet at Pershing Square (6th/Olive) at 6:30 pm, or catch up with us on Spring Street between 5th & 6th.
So, the protesters were clearly frustrated over the fact that police won't allow them to place sidewalk chalk (i.e. art) wherever they please on public property. To rage against the establishment, Occupiers and their supporters took to the streets, sidewalk chalk in hand, to make their messages known to authorities.
The chalk-a-thon of sorts led protesters to post messages throughout the street. Cryptic notes like "You wouldn't shoot your kids for this, why shoot us?," "kill police" (complete with pictures of pigs) and "chalk the police" were among those being scribbled about.
Around 10:36 p.m. -- just a half hour before police inevitably asked the protesters to leave -- the gathering was clearly in full force. Another message posted to the Occupy L.A. page claimed that "thousands" (the AP reports that there were 200) were in the streets, going on to say, "still no dispersal order, cops have leathal weapons, the people chanting 'Show me what a police state looks like, this is what a police state looks like!'" Additionally, they yelled expletives at police.
Here's a montage of images that showcases some of this "chalk walk" (caution: language):
While protesters accused police of shooting rubber bullets and using force -- typical accusations that flow when Occupy protesters assemble -- it seems there was equal force on the part of the Occupiers. Aerial views showed demonstrators rocks, bottles and other items at police.
A traffic cone was also thrown at an unmarked police car. Some of the people, though, could be heard telling their compatriots to keep the peace. The Los Angeles Times reports that at least two officers were injured in the scuffle.
"This kind of took us by surprise, we were not expecting them to show up tonight," LAPD Officer Karen Rayner told KNBC-TV.
There's no telling if or when the chalkers will return to spread their messages on Los Angeles' sidewalks.
(H/T: NBC Los Angeles)