Sunday, October 16, 2011

No Arrests or Citations Issued On First Night of Occupy Long Beach

(Oct. 16, 2011, 3:30 a.m.) -- Contrary to predictions elsewhere, there were no arrests or even citations issued on Saturday night (Oct. 15) and into the predawn hours Sunday morning (Oct. 16) at the ongoing Occupy Long Beach event at Lincoln Park.

LBPD said Occupy Long Beach organizers complied with police directives, including exiting Lincoln Park by 10 p.m. (closing time for all LB parks) and (on request) removing tents that had been set up in the park (violating a city ordinance).

Prior to 10:00 p.m.

In its release, LBPD said the day's events resulted in a "peaceful and orderly demonstration."

[LBPD release text] 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.

As reported earlier in the day by, signs were visible throughout the park -- which appeared to be recently posted, as they were attached by plastic ties -- stating that camping or entering a park outside its posted hours is prohibited.

For its part, Occupy Long Beach moved its action onto the sidewalk, marched in and around downtown and returned to the Park area.

After 10:00 p.m.

On its Facebook page, event organizers say police told them: "You can't lie down and sleep on the sidewalk, but you may sleep sitting up. Then it got more bizarre: You can't be in a sleeping bag, but you can be covered up or some such nonsense."

At about 2:30 a.m., Occupy Long Beach press spokesperson Lee Salazar updated us and said some of the rules had been changed. To hear Ms. Salazar's update on demand, click here.

The OCCUPATION of Long Beach has begun! Over 150 of us were at Lincoln Park on Saturday night. To avoid arrest and be around for the long haul, we removed our tents from the park and put them on the sidewalk. A little while later, we were told that no temporary structures were allowed on the sidewalk, so we took down the tents. About 100 of us then marched through parts of the Pine Avenue entertainment district and part of the Pike chanting and engaging some of the bystanders and drawing a lot of attention. We returned to Lincoln Park and were told a number of strange things by the police: you can't lie down and sleep on the sidewalk, but you may sleep sitting up. Then it got more bizarre: You can't be in a sleeping bag, but you can be covered up or some such nonsense.

Meanwhile, before sundown the city had set up three sets of floodlights run on portable generators. Between the brightness of the lights and the droning of the generators, it will not be easy to sleep there.

Ms. Salazar described the participants as upbeat...and on Facebook, event organizers said:

Two weeks ago on Saturday, Occupy Long Beach was merely a Facebook page. Then, on Sunday, October 2nd, almost like magic, 40 of us appeared at Lincoln Park. Every night since then, we have had General Assemblies and every night there have ten or twenty first-timers. Tonight, over 150 of us Occupied Long Beach. Our numbers will continue to grow. Join with us and spread the word.

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