Last month's Downtown ArtWalk descended into chaos after an Occupy L.A. event called "ChalkWalk" migrated into the main fray of the arts and culture event.
ChalkWalk was planned as a protest—a peaceful protest, according to organizers—of the recent LAPD crackdown on Occupy L.A. members drawing with chalk on sidewalks and businesses. When the protest migrated from Pershing Square to 5th and Spring Streets, police stepped in to arrest chalkers, apparently angering a crowd mixed with Occupiers and ArtWalkers.
Bottles were thrown; police responded with rubber bullets.
ArtWalk is now upon us again, scheduled as usual for the second Thursday of the month — and so is ChalkWalk. But Occupy L.A. members say this month will be different.
Cheryl Aichele of Occupy says that the plan is to host a community event in Pershing Square with a potluck, bubbles and other family-friendly events, as well as a legal "know your rights" presentation on public demonstrations.
Chalking, she said, will be neither encouraged nor discouraged.
"What we're going to do is do our best to inform people of the current status of chalking on the sidewalks. You risk arrest and want people to understand what the risks are," Aichele said. "We don't have any money to bail people out. So it's not so much that we're telling people to do it or we're discouraging them from doing it, but we're encouraging everyone to understand the risks."
LAPD, meanwhile, says they expect a normal ArtWalk. "We don't anticipate any issues, as long as people show up to participate in a peaceful, lawful manner," said LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman.
A large police force will be out because "we always have quite a large number of officer out," for the event, Neiman said, as the event generally attracts 30,000-40,000 people.