Police Brace For ‘Chalkupy’ Protests Near ArtWalk In Downtown LA
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Police will be on alert in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday night ahead of an arts celebration that erupted into violence last month.
KNX 1070′s Margret Carrero reports three people were detained at the site of a demonstration planned to coincide with tonight’s ArtWalk event.
The trio — members of an Occupy group from Oakland — were detained in Pershing Square on Thursday morning for allegedly chalking messages at the site, said Officer Christopher No of the LAPD’s Media Relations office.
One of the three was arrested on an outstanding warrant, No said.
Despite the early arrests, however, one Occupy protester told KNX 1070′s Claudia Peschiutta that the group does not plan any civil disobedience while exercising their Constitutional right to assemble.
“As far as I know, a public park is free to the public, and we’re not doing anything illegal,” said Cheryl Aichele, who said the protest will include a potluck, face-painting and balloon animals.
Police will be out in force to monitor activity at ArtWalk, which takes place the second Thursday of each month and draws thousands of people to Spring Street between Third and Seventh streets in the heart of downtown.
“It’ll be enough where people will see officers in uniform, so that’ll deter any major incident that would happen or individual that would cause problems,” said LAPD Officer Christopher No.
The last ArtWalk on July 12 was marred by violence after police fired non-lethal weapons at protesters who were scrawling messages in chalk on sidewalks and buildings.
Event organizer Joe Moller said he expects things to return to normal tonight after last month’s event was hijacked by demonstrators whom he called “self-proclaimed artists” who contribute little to society at large.
“As someone who grew up on welfare, the solution for me has always been to get a job and work through my problems, not to lay in a tent smoking weed all day and to show up at somebody else’s party and crash it,” said Moller. “Doesn’t seem to resolve any of their issues.”
This time around, Occupy members are expected to rally for the cause of homeless rights after a recent police crackdown on lawlessness on nearby Skid Row.
Some Occupy protesters who were evicted from their City Hall encampment last year moved to Towne Avenue, where they dispersed just a few days ago after a standoff with police.
Protesters plan to set up “an open community art and music space in Pershing Square” from 7:30-10:30 p.m., according to the Occupy LA Facebook page.
The event will be confined to the area between Sixth and Olive streets, two blocks from the main ArtWalk activity.
(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)