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Occupy LA plans large march Thursday morning

November 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
More than 1,000 unemployed workers and other demonstrators are expected to snarl rush hour traffic Thursday morning.

Demonstrators will gather at 7 a.m. at the Bank of America Plaza and then march to 4th and Figueroa streets.

Earlier Wednesday, officials said they're working on a timeline to clear out the Occupy Los Angeles encampment from City Hall.

The Los Angeles Police Department apparently has promised the protesters they would have ample warning and there would be no surprise evictions.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Police Chief Charlie Beck said the encampment can't continue indefinitely because of health and safety concerns.

"We urge the mayor, the police chief, to think carefully about taking any action to remove the campers," said Juan Jose Gutierrez of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition.

It reportedly costs $45,000 to staff police and maintain sanitary facilities at the site. It is also estimated that repairing the lawn will cost $400,000.

Occupy L.A. protesters said they have no plans to abandon the movement any time soon.

"You may be able to move a tent, but you can't take down passion, you can't take down commitment," said Alexandra Seo of the Koratown Immigration Workers Group Alliance.

The Los Angeles protests have been relatively non-confrontational compared to evictions and arrests in Oakland, New York and elsewhere.

However, the city attorney's office filed charges Tuesday against five people who were arrested in recent days at the Occupy L.A. encampment. The charges included lewd conduct, assault with a deadly weapon, battery and resisting arrest.

Service Employee International Union demonstrators marched from Pershing Square to the Social Security building on Wednesday in a show of support for national health care.

Chanting "no more cuts," holding American flags and wearing surgical masks, the SEIU assembled to send a message to the super committee in Congress.

"Behind every zero, behind every decimal point in Washington, there are real faces behind those numbers," said Aphonza Butler, a member of the SEIU.

Occupy Cal

After a day-long rally that attracted thousands, anti-Wall Street activists were rebuilding their tent city on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley.

At least 10 new tents were set up on the steps of Sproul Hall, where the Berkeley Free Speech Movement was born in the 1960s.

The tents were taken down last week as campus police moved in after the university tried to uphold a ban on camping on school grounds.

The university started an investigation into whether campus police used excessive force in removing the tents on Nov 9. On that day, police jabbed students with batons and arrested 40 people.

Seth Weinberg, a 20-year-old cognitive science major, said he slept in a tent on Sproul Plaza to press the university to lobby for more public education funding.

"There should be a way for anyone who wants to go to college if they choose to," Weinberg said. "What the university doesn't understand is that we are not camping out. This is a constant protest."

There were no arrests overnight.

Occupy Wall Street

In New York City, where the anti-Wall Street protests began in mid-September, demonstrators moved back into Zuccotti Park, but without their tents.

The NYPD moved in Monday night to evict the protesters and arrested 200 of them.

A New York judge has ruled that free speech rights do not extend to setting up a camp for months at a time.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered the eviction, contending that health and safety conditions at the camp city had become "intolerable."

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