OCCUPYLONGBEACH: IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL–THAT IS, UNTIL THE 10 PM CURFEWBy Dave Wielenga
OccupyLongBeach deployed its first official occupation Saturday at Lincoln Park, where approximately 300 people convened, marched, demonstrated and dispersed without any of the conflict that seemed to have been foreshadowed in prickly press releases from the social-justice movement and the Long Beach Police Department.
OccupyLongBeach is the local spinoff of a national movement that began with OccupyWall Street—itself a spinoff of the so-called Arab Spring demonstrations that ultimately toppled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The movement emerged in Long Beach on Sunday, Oct. 2, with a small planning meeting at Lincoln Park.
On Tuesday, Oct. 4, one of its members, Tammara Phillips, addressed the Long Beach City Council, and received a positive response from council members Suja Lowenthal, Robert Garcia, Gerrie Schipske and Patrick O’Donnell.
On Thursday, Oct. 6, Phillips and Wynton Johnson were interviewed on Greater Long Beach Radio; the show can be accessed from the archives of Cal State Long Beach online station KBEACH.org through this link.
Saturday’s potential flash point was the Long Beach ordinance that declares Lincoln Park officially closed at 10 p.m., after which it is illegal for anyone to be in the small patch of downtown open space. A long rally that OccupyLongBeach had scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. appeared destined to last beyond the 10 p.m. deadline. And organizers seemed determined to stand their ground.
Or so read Friday’s press release from OccupyLongBeach:
“Along with its 11 a.m. rally and noon march, Occupy Long Beach will be holding a second rally at Lincoln Park on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 9 pm. The event will be a peaceful assembly, which includes guest speakers, a statement of intent and an open mic.
Occupy Long Beach is asking for support from the surrounding community. As the park closes at 10 p.m. the group faces the possibility of citations and/or arrests.
A group member identifying himself as Troy Davis stated, “We will assemble and march in peace, and in solidarity with the National day of Action, but we will be violating a city ordinance that says we can’t be in the park after 10 p.m.” He added, “We need our friends and neighbors to support us. You can stand legally on the sidewalk and lend your support to the peaceful Occupiers of Long Beach.”
The group met with the city on Thursday to discuss their plans and have another meeting scheduled for next Wednesday. They hope that a peaceful resolution can be worked out between the local movement and the City Council that will allow for a continued occupation of Lincoln Park, which is located on Pacific Ave. between 1st and Broadway.”
It’s isn’t clear what agreement was reached—or how it was hammered out—but there was no conflict. In fact, by the time the long day had journeyed into night, the once-snippy press releases were cooing back and forth like a couple of kids going steady.
Check out the love in this dispatch from the LBPD:
Members of the community gathered today as the group “Occupy Long Beach” to demonstrate in a peaceful and orderly fashion.
While the mission of the Long Beach Police Department is to protect life and property, maintain order and ensure public safety, the police department also supports the right of every person to assemble and demonstrate in a lawful manner, which was the case in today’s event. Police and city officials had met with organizers of the event and they were informed of the City’s laws and expectations for a peaceful demonstration.
Approximately 250 to 300 people gathered today at Lincoln Park in downtown Long Beach to protest. Shortly after 12:00 pm., the group marched north on Pacific Avenue to 4th Street, and then proceeded to Pine Avenue where they continued southbound to Ocean Boulevard then retruned to Lincoln Park. After marching, the group remained at the park chanting, protesting and expressing concerns.
Later at night, a smaller group formed at the park and set up tents in an apparent attempt to camp out at the park, however, the tents were removed without confrontation upon request, as this violates Long Beach City Ordinance.
The group remained on the sidewalk to carry out their demonstration throughout the night while being monitored by police.
Today’s demonstration was a display of mutual respect between police and the demonstrating community. Demonstrators were able to exercise their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech while obeying all applicable laws. As a result of this peaceful protest, no arrests were made or citations issued.
“Today’s demonstration was a display of mutual respect between police and the demonstrating community. Demonstrators were able to exercise their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech while obeying all applicable laws. As a result of this peaceful protest, no arrests were made or citations issued.”