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Protesters March Downtown LA's Financial District (LIVE BLOG, VIDEO)

By CHRISTINA HOAG   11/17/11 04:55 PM ET   AP

Downtown La Protests

LOS ANGELES -- Several hundred Occupy Wall Street sympathizers have marched to the Bank of America Plaza in downtown Los Angeles and some have set up tents on a lawn.

Helmeted police equipped with batons have surrounded the base of the bank tower but the protest has remained peaceful.

The march began shortly after noon Thursday at the Occupy LA encampment at City Hall. Police stopped their progress down Broadway when they spilled off the sidewalk and into the street. Three people were arrested there.

Earlier Thursday, Los Angeles police arrested 23 people without incident after they sat down in a street during a peaceful rally by hundreds of people organized by labor groups who had a permit. Two other people were also arrested separately for interfering with officers.

This slideshow sums up Thursday's multiple protests and demonstrations. Liveblog follows below. All photos by the Huffington Post.
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Before the planned protest at 8am, Michael Green played MC in the morning to get folks from GoodJobsLA and SEIU amped up for the march. He said to the Huffington Post, "I had to pace myself while escalate little by little."

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Video from The Franklin Gang on Day 48 of Occupy LA and their (failed?) expansion to the Bank of America plaza:

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Photo by the Huffington Post

Gawker's got the inside tip on the Rihanna angle from Thursday's protest:
Everyone passed the time with complimentary Ice Blendeds from a nearby Coffee Bean, they blasted Rihanna out of the SWAT vehicles' crowd-dispersing P.A. systems, and a fun time was had by all! Honk if you love the status quo! Thaaaanksies!

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The LAPD confirms that they arrested a total of 72 people throughout the day on Thursday.

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@ Occupy_UCLA : Emergency General Assembly TONIGHT 9 PM at Wilson Plaza! Alleged police raid anticipated at 10:30 PM. Stand United for education ~LS

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@ OccupyLA : We need donations for bail right now - 42 people @ $100 each. come to police station on los angeles btwn 1st and temple or call 626 560 0710

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The bus is slowly being filled up with arrestees. Some people outside of the police lines are holding a candle light vigil. Other Occupiers who chose not to get arrested are right at the border of the police lines cheering, chanting and observing.

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LAPD has the whole BofA plaza cornered off with skirmish lines. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck is there to monitor the protests and arrests.

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A group of clergy stand within the police lines, observing the process and making sure things stay nonviolent. HuffPost LA spoke to one member of clergy, Rabbi Jonathan Klein who said the clergy are there as witnesses to keep the protestors nonviolent but to also remind the police that these people are just struggling. Clergy are also there to encourage protestors to keep their mind on the prize - which is a more equal economy.

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A group of about 20-30 protestors decided to get arrested - they stood in the middle of the BofA lawn, with arms linked in a circle. They are now being arrested, and being led away one at a time, which is taking forever.

Meanwhile, police have taken all tents off of the grass are and thrown them to the side of the BofA lawn.

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Police moving in on #OccupyLA. Protesters reporting it's "just like a Michael Bay film."

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#laps pulling out tents and surrounding peaceful protestors - batons up, beanbag guns drawn arrests occurring.

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LA protesters now chanting "Corporate COPs". about time #occupyla ended its marriage with "occupyLAPD."

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Helicopters over #OccupyLA are amazing. The police have rubber bullet guns out, but no violence yet.

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Arrests being made, tents taken down at downtown BofA.

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@ OccupyLA : Protesters arms locked holding ground at #bofa http://t.co/zwgHMzww

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Protestors chanting: "Wake up, rise up, join us!" Could be directed at the gathering police.

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After police make dispersal announcement, protestors chant "Shame on you!" over and over again. They don't seem to be leaving. The dispersal is called for 4:10pm - 11 minutes from now. LAPD officer Jose Perez made the dispersal announcement.

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Police make dispersal announcement right now - telling protestors to leave by 4:10pm or arrests will begin.

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Jono Schaffer is an SEIO leader and was part of talks just now that took place between the protest organizers and the police. Schaffer told HuffPost LA: "They're not going to be able to stay overnight [in the Bank of America Building courtyard]. The police have designated the lawn a 'green space' which means that it gives the private owners of the Bank of America building the authority to either open or close the space.

Officials are making a differentiation between the plaza, which is tile, and the grass, which is now being called a 'green space.' Protestors will not be able to stay overnight and pretty soon they will be given a dispersal order. Anyone who remains on the lawn after that will be arrested.

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HuffPost LA was just approached by the LAPD about a safe media staging center that will be set up next to the ATMs where media can stay to observe without being arrested.

If the plaza is indeed declared an unlawful assembly, police will start clearing the plaza. Whether or not this is illegal is currently being negotiated by the command station and protest organizers.

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Mariah Montgommery is a researcher with SEIU West (a labor group). She told HuffPost LA that research of records at the city's Community Re-Development Agency show that the "public areas at Bank of America Plaza are to be open to the public 24 hours a day."

HuffPost LA asked how she knew that or why she had already done that research and she said "Zucotti Park in NYC is also a privately owned public space. We wanted to investigate what rights people have to this public space."

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The "Occupy Bank of America Plaza" is not an official expansion of Occupy LA, although there are many Occupiers here. PJ Davenport, spokesperson for Occupy LA, has said: "If it is to become an official expansion of Occupy LA, it will need to pass general assembly. It's being proposed tonight at 7:30pm."

According to Occupy LA's twitter feed, the LAPD says they are not going to force the protestors to move unless the building owner asks.

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People have either left the plaza or moved over to the Bank of America lawn, where they're setting up tents despite the sprinklers. Police aren't letting people into the inner plaza.

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Police are guarding the Bank of America Plaza and preventing protestors from walking past their designated police lines. More police ready on Hope Street.

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Nearly all of the union-based organizers from this morning (who had permits) have left the Downtown LA protest area. And now what's left are people from the Occupy LA camp.

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Emilio Arreola has been running security at the Occupy LA camp since Day 1. He confirms to HuffPost LA that the Occupy LA Movement has just established a new outpost - it is located on the lawn at the Bank of America Plaza.

About a dozen people have already set up tents. Arreola says, "We are not leaving. We are expanding. There's nothing they can do to kill this movement. Anything they do will only make us stronger."

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Back where they started, but this time sans permit. SEIU, Good Jobs LA, and Occupiers in the crowd.

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On Hope next to the Bank of America Plaza. There are even more police waiting behind the Wells Fargo Courtyard.

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Occupy LA protesters moving towards 5th/Grand, some headed to Bank of America Plaza and the US Bank Building.

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Filed by Sasha Bronner  |