Evidence of the pressure that officials are putting on Occupy LA, as well as the stress of camping outdoors for three weeks, is beginning to show.
On Thursday morning at 3am, Los Angeles police paid a visit to the camp after reports of a violent threat. "Two people in the encampment were having a confrontation of some kind," LAPD spokesperson Richard French told The Huffington Post, and one of them had a knife. "The person [with the knife] was taken into custody," French continued, "as was his weapon."
The night before, a CBS2/KCAL9 report had said that "the normally placid crowd is on high alert" at the Occupy LA encampment, perhaps in reaction to both the raid on Occupy Oakland as well what appears to be some official pushback from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. One protester promised Serene Branson of CBS that "we won’t be daunted. We're just going to keep coming back and coming back... like Chinese water torture."
See her video report here:
The Occupy LA movement has repeatedly disavowed calls for a violent component to their protest. General assembly meeting notes from September 30 outline what to do if any violence occurs (start chanting "we are peaceful"). Protest organizers have also offered workshops on non-violent protest.
Tensions between the Occupy LA protesters and the city could be increasing in the wake of a Los Angeles Times report that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has told staffers to "begin drafting restrictions limiting when people are allowed at City Hall."
The Mayor is worried about the cost of the Occupy LA encampment to city taxpayers and wants to balance the rights of the protesters with the financial burden it is placing on the city. ABC 7 has more:
Villaraigosa said the city was spending about $2,700 per day, mostly for General Services Department police officers to watch demonstrators. People also have been wearing out the lawn and inadvertently breaking sprinkler heads, he said.
Damage to the lawn could be as much as $400,000, according to the Department of Parks and Recreation.
In response, Occupy LA released a statement thanking the Mayor and other officials for respecting their right to peacefully assemble and protest. But they also emphasized that they have no plans to go anywhere, saying, "as for a time stamp on our departure, there is none."
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