The ANSWER Coalition issued the statement below today, following the attempted eviction of Occupy LA by the LAPD last night. The Party for Socialism and Liberation is a member organization of ANSWER and has been participating in Occupy demonstrations in Los Angeles and across the country.
Dear supporter of the ANSWER Coalition,
Hours after thousands of people joined together in a late night emergency demonstration to stop the planned eviction of Occupy LA, civil rights attorney Carol Sobel went into federal court seeking an injunction against the mayor and police whose eviction plans constitute an “arbitrary and capricious action in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments by first approving the Occupy presence for 56 days before suddenly revoking permission through the unilateral action” of the mayor.
Eyewitness account: Emergency action draws thousands
At least 3,000 people came out to City Hall in downtown Los Angeles to defend the Occupy LA encampment on Sunday night, the eviction deadline ordered by LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the chief of police. The crowd was mostly comprised of young people and students who support Occupy LA, along with many people camping each night at City Hall, where the Occupy LA protest has been for two months.
ANSWER Coalition organizers had put out the call for an emergency mobilization to stop the eviction, which turned into a major demonstration at 11 p.m. that spanned the entire City Hall block. Joining the protest were a number of immigrant rights groups, SEIU, the California Nurses Association and others. People chanted and spoke about the need for unity and continued struggle. "Occupy Wall Street, occupy Los Angeles, occupy everything and never give it back" and other chants rang out.
As the 12:01 a.m. eviction deadline neared, people marched with banners and signs to the heart of the Occupy LA encampment at the steps of City Hall and massed on the steps, spreading across the entire central lawn. The deadline came and went and the eviction did not happen. For blocks, the only thing heard at 12:01 a.m. was "Who's lawn? Our lawn!"
While thousands of people defended Occupy LA on City Hall lawn, the protest eventually spilled into the street directly facing LAPD headquarters. Hundreds of riot police faced off with the encampment as people linked arms and made a human chain to surround City Hall. The police shut down the surrounding street for blocks, but were unable to move in and evict the camp because of the resolve of the protesters. People remain on alert, knowing that the police and city officials will try again to evict the occupiers from the encampment, which has become a symbol of resistance to the rule of the rich and their political representatives.