Los Angeles police officers and Occupy LA protesters clashed at ArtWalk, leading to 17 arrests and four injuries.
Tonight marks the return of the Downtown LA Art Walk since last month's ‘Chalk Walk’ incident, when Occupy LA and other protesters staged a demonstration that ended in violence and arrests by police. Occupy is expected to return to the Downtown LA Art Walk tonight with a larger group of protesters, though they assert that will be peaceful. “This is a non-violent, peaceful family event” states the Facebook event page for tonight, “we plan on confining it to Pershing Square and we hope the city can allow us this day to celebrate art and community, unobstructed.”
Hostility began last month at Art Walk after protesters wrote messages of protest in chalk on the sidewalk in front of police. According to the LAPD, that constitutes an arrestable act of vandalism, LAPD began taking protesters into custody, which ignited the crowd and spurred violence.
Art Walk was caught in the middle of last month's clash between LAPD and protestors, which damaged the atmosphere, according to its director, Joe Moller. "We were co-opted; there was a lot of collateral damage," he says. "The concern is that now people think that Art Walk is about something other than art and that downtown isn't a safe place where they want to spend their time,” Moller told the LA Times.
Will you be going to the Art Walk? Do you think 'Occupy' has gone too far?
Joe Moller, executive director of the Downtown LA Art Walk