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Police Visit, Protestors Vacate

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  • Clore Daniel C
    Sunday, July 16, 2000 Protest Organizers Vacate Office After Police Visit By NICHOLAS RICCARDI, Times Staff Writer At least five Los Angeles police officers
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 16, 2000
      Sunday, July 16, 2000

      Protest Organizers Vacate Office After Police Visit

      By NICHOLAS RICCARDI, Times Staff Writer

      At least five Los Angeles police officers made an
      unexpected visit Saturday night to the MacArthur Park
      headquarters that protesters plan to use during the
      Democratic National Convention, prompting about 25
      organizers to vacate the site, activists and police

      The officers from the Rampart Division, which covers
      the area, arrived at the office at 1919 W. 7th St.
      shortly after 7 p.m. They asked occupants for a copy
      of the lease and proof that the office had been
      inspected by the Fire Department, said Susan Goldberg,
      an organizer with the Direct Action Network, a group
      helping to coordinate protests.

      Officer Don Cox, an LAPD spokesman, said that "an
      officer went by there and saw people running out of a
      building" that was believed to be abandoned.

      The officer returned to the site with about five other
      officers, Cox said Saturday night. Cox was not sure of
      the precise number of police who responded. Goldberg
      estimated that it was 10 officers.

      The police spoke to the occupants, Cox said, and then
      "they went away and we went away. That's all there is."

      Goldberg said police stood inside the entrance to the
      office dubbed "the convergence center." Police told her
      and about 25 others that they might be trespassing.

      One sergeant, Goldberg said, told her that police are
      concerned about protests during the Democratic National
      Convention at Staples Center next month.

      She said police did not search the building or look
      through files. Part of the incident was videotaped by
      the organizers.

      Goldberg said she told police that the lease was elsewhere
      and time was needed to retrieve it and other paperwork, as
      well as to contact the group's attorneys.

      The group decided to vacate the office after discussions
      with police.

      News of the police visit rapidly spread to the mountains
      above Malibu, where 150 activists are meeting to learn
      nonviolent protest tactics. When he heard about the
      incident, state Sen. Tom Hayden (D-Los Angeles), who was
      going to speak to the group, said "the overreaction

      He was referring to what activists see as a campaign to
      intimidate the up to 50,000 protesters expected to take
      to the streets during the convention.

      The Los Angeles City Council rescinded permission for
      organizers to gather in downtown's Pershing Square. Advocates
      of protest groups and labor unions have sued the city to
      gain access to the streets around Staples Center.

      Police have said a small group of rogue protesters could
      damage property, as occurred during demonstrations in Seattle
      last November during a World Trade Organization conference.

      Dan Clore

      The Website of Lord We├┐rdgliffe:
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