Occupy Fights Repression after US Ignores UN Plea to Protect Occupiers’ Rights

anthony lascano

Anthony Lascano arrested

Members of Occupy LA Kick of a Campaign to End Political Repression of Occupiers and Activists

Over six months after Envoys of the United Nations wrote a letter to the Obama Administration, the U.S. government has yet to response to requests regarding local repression of the Occupy movement. Members of Occupy LA plan to push the issue with local and federal governments after alleged increase of Rights violations by LAPD.

Occupiers feel LAPD has targeted them in attempt to silence their dissent and stop their actions. Courtroom witnesses have been threatened with arrest; while Occupiers have been arrested for chalk art and say they are victims of police misconduct.

The day before Independence Day in America, Occupy LA members gather for court support for Anthony Lascano, an Occupy activist, who the courts unexpectantly took into custody on Monday afternoon.

A Judge has set Lascano’s bail at $75,000. An amount Occupiers says exemplifies increase political repression and Human Rights violations against Occupiers by LAPD, the so-called Justice System, and the U.S. Government.

Occupy activists plan to occupy the courtroom for Lascano’s bail hearing, City Council Chambers, and the LAPD Board of Police Commissioners meeting Tuesday morning in protest of said repression.

Occupiers claim the LAPD have made 11 Occupy arrests in three weeks for chalking.

In a letter dated June 4, Carol Sobel, a First-Amendment-Rights lawyer with the National Lawyers Guild, explained to the Special Assistant for Constitutional Policing for the LAPD that the 9th Circuit unanimously held that “no chalk would damage a sidewalk” in MacKinney v. Nielsen from 1995.

“Given that this decision is now 18 years old, there is no excuse for these arrests,” states Sobel in the letter.

Occupiers say LA’s current graffiti laws do not reflect the Constitutional ruling yet. Activist point out that elected officials and police officers are sworn to uphold and protect the Constitution. However, many Occupiers feel individuals of these entities systematically repress their Rights.

The City of Orlando recently spent $200,000 defending a chalk-art arrest of an Occupier in Florida. The city lost that case and activists say that the City of Los Angeles could waste up to $2.4 million dollars defending the 11 chalking arrests this month.

Occupiers believe the LAPD selectively enforces the graffiti law against them while the City’s own Parking Enforcement officers use chalk on the tires of vehicles they wish to monitor for time restrictions.

The activist also say, that the police did not arrest any activists at this weekend’s anti-Walmart protest in downtown organized by Labor and other community groups. From photos of the event, it clearly had plenty of chalk art written on the pavement surrounding the actions.

So far, the activists know of no arrests of children for the summer activity of chalking on cement. Activists argue the chalk comes in packaging marketed for sidewalk art us and that water-soluble chalk does no damage.

Members of Occupy LA allege that City Officials violate California Civil Code 52.1. They say LAPD — under the color of law— interferes with their exercise and enjoyment of their Rights by threats, intimidation, and coercion.

To avoid prosecution, the City required dozens of Occupy LA arrestees to take a First-Amendment-Rights class administered through the City Attorney’s office. Now, Occupy LA says it is the City that needs a lesson in the First Amendment.

Cheryl Aichele
Occupy Fights Foreclosure 

Posted: 3 July 2012

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