Occupy LA Protesters Endure Rain, Uncertainty

Some critics say overnight camping at City Hall sets a bad precedent

Thursday was a challenging day for Occupy LA protesters.

Brief periods of driving rain reduced their City Hall campground to a muddy mess for a time. But the real mess for the protesters may be what's going on inside City Hall, where some critics are grumbling that the encampment must be stricken soon.

Carol Schatz of the Central City Association wonders if a troubling precedent has been set, that will reduce parks and other public areas to nonstop protest areas.

City officials have chosen to ignore a law that's supposed to prevent that from happening.

"Where does it stop and who does it apply to?" asked Schatz. "Do we just like certain kinds of protest movements and not others?"

The protesters say they have little sympathy for such positions.

"If the way that we have to change things is by ceasing business as usual, then that's the way it has to go," said a protester who calls herself Zeeva the International.


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Oakland is wrestling with the same issues. A Wednesday night City Council meeting featured appeals from the business community, invoking the unpopular prospect of lost jobs.

"We've had several conversations with businesses that say they will consider not renewing their leases," said Joe Harabarda of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce.

Even the Occupy LA protesters recognize that the line has to be drawn somewhere.

When asked if Nazis should be allowed to establish encampments to voice their views, an Occupy LA protester who identified himself as Dan Rascal objected.

"They have a history and a reputation of being violent," said the protester. "Violent people are not welcome here."

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