Occupy Wall Street posted wins in Los Angeles and Philadelphia on Monday when police passed on the violent crackdowns expected after mayors of the two cities ordered the pro-democracy protesters to clear out.
“Too much media for the police to do the down and dirty as the other cities had in the past,” Pamela Rose Hauser wrote on Occupy Los Angeles’ Facbook page.
More than 2,000 protesters filled the streets around the LA camp in the early morning hours Monday to demonstrate their resolve after police ringed the area to enforce Mayor Antonio Vallaraigosa’s 12:01 a.m. eviction order. They withdrew six hours later after clearing the streets and arresting four people. There were no injuries.
However, more than 400 of the 450 tents in the protest remained in the park beside City Hall with their occupants, where they have camped for more than two months. A celebratory atmosphere filled the area after the standoff as police in riot gear started to leave, with protesters chanting “we won, we won.”
Machine politicians have struggled to respond to the protests against economic injustice amid the deepest economic slowdown since The Great Depression, which has hit the middle class exceedingly hard while the wealthy have continued to prosper. Democrats, Republicans and even political independents like New York City’s billionaire mayor – Michael Bloomberg – have seen their support evaporate in the wake of violent raids that netted more than 300 arrests Nov. 17 and caused countless injuries.
Police have seen their own social standing plummet as they’ve pepper sprayed elderly and young protesters alike for expressing views that challenge the status quo. In New York City, the NYPD shirts and hats that have been ever-present on the streets since 9/11 now are a rarity.
Even the mainstream media, which has grown fat on revenue from political advertising, has been challenged to adapt to the charges of class warfare that marchers have leveled against a pay-for-play political system that favors the wealthy and those who serve them. Now, the grassroots movement the mainstream media largely dismissed two months ago is front-page news every day of the week.
LA Police Chief Charlie Beck told reporters that it’s unclear when the camp will be cleared.
The Los Angles win followed a similar victory Sunday for Occupy marchers during a standoff in Philadelphia. About 50 of the more than 300 protesters in the plaza outside Philadelphia City Hall vowed to remain there until they were carried out by authorities. The ouster never occurred.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter had little popular support for a crackdown on the Occupy movement in his city, which is known for its powerful and influential unions. Big labor has embraced the protesters, who call themselves the 99%.
“This is just baby steps,” Philly protester R.W. Dennen told The Associated Press.