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Occupy LA’s legacy: Stench, trash, property damage

November 30, 2011

Via Mercury News

LOS ANGELES—Trash, flattened tents and the stench of urine were the legacy of Occupy Los Angeles on Wednesday after hundreds of protesters were arrested or chased out of their City Hall park encampment.

City crews erected chain link fence and concrete barricades around the park at dawn, six hours after 1,400 police officers swarmed the area.

Later in the morning, police officers in white hazardous materials suits prowled the park in search of personal belongings to store for retrieval by protesters.

“A lot of this stuff is contaminated with urine and feces and who knows what,” Cmdr. Andrew Smith said.

The encampment turned the once-lush City Hall lawns into patches of dirt strewn with tons of debris—clothing, tents, bedding, shoes, trash and other human flotsam that accumulated during the past two months.

A wooden tree house strung six feet in the air between palm trees was still in place with a sign offering “Free hugs.”

Plywood panels erected to protect statues were sprayed with graffiti, including the words, “It smells like change.” Early Wednesday, however, the area smelled like urine.

Workers planned to use skip loaders to scoop up the mess at the park that was expected to take weeks to recover.

About 100 evicted Occupy LA protesters were welcomed at nearby La Placita Olvera Church. By dawn, 13 tents had mushroomed on the side of the church, with protesters asleep on sidewalks, and bicycles, a guitar and dog nearby.

Occupy LA refugee Bobby Lopez, 42, of San Antonio left the encampment just before the police raid and said officers wouldn’t let him return.

“They trashed all my stuff,” he said. “My laptop, my radio, my clothing, just everything … My girlfriend actually got arrested while she was asleep in the tent. They dragged her out.”

Tyler Bushman, 30, of Provo, Utah, called himself a sustainable designer and vowed the movement will continue.

“We’re still around,” he said. “We’ll just go somewhere else.”

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Well at least the occupiers have a coherent message…

 

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