So I’ve been in LA for the last couple of weeks and am about to fly back to Seattle and then on to Athens, Greece on Wednesday. The other day, the Mayor of LA issued orders to close City Hall park to the Occupy protest citing “health and safety” concerns. OccupyLA is one of the larger and longer standing Occupy protests which has not experienced any significant police-protestor violence.
I’ve been largely absent from the ongoing Occupy activities and have not been doing much of any shooting lately … so I thought last night would be a good opportunity to get back into the flow, especially since I am off to Athens on Wed. As well, I’ve just gotten a new D700 and thought I should take the new camera out for a little spin!
Overall I was pretty impressed at how both the LAPD and the #OccupyLA protestors handled everything. I would guess there were at least 4000 people in the park and surrounding areas at the height of things last night. By 3:00 AM, about when I left, I would guess that there were no more than 1500 people, still a significant number. Very few protesters had taken down their tents and by morning, the city had not taken any significant action to clear the park of the tent city.
LAPD blocked off several streets around City Hall Park as demonstrators spilled out into the street in the hour before the 12:01 AM order to vacate the park. LAPD officers were in normal uniform and only wear riot helmets and no other heavy gear. One command officer, Cmd. Smith, was walking around and openly talking with protestors about what was happening and what LAPD was requesting of OccupyLA. By morning, several arrests were made when people refused to clear the streets for normal commuter traffic.
Props to LAPD and OccupyLA for keeping things very civil. Everyone did what they needed to do without any of the extreme violence that we have seen in other cities.
Otherwise, the D700 preformed very well and I am excited to run her out in Athens next week. More on that later.
Photos are over at facebook (you don’t need to be on fb to see them) …