Occupy L.A. Pitches Mini Tent City at Bank of America Plaza; Riot Police Move in for Arrests
Update, 4:45 p.m.: The LAPD is ripping up the tents and trying to push them off the side of the raised plaza -- to shrieks of disapproval from the protesters.
Standoff at Occupy Bank of America Plaza.
Update, 4:30 p.m.: Arrests have begun. Here's one guy in handcuffs. Protesters are chanting, "This is what a police state looks like!" and "Put your weapons down!" Small group of occupiers still linking arms around tent city.
Update, 4:20 p.m.: Occupiers aren't leaving. Police look unsure of what to do. Watch the impending clash on the Occupy L.A. live stream, which has almost 1,000 viewers right now.
Update, 4 p.m.: Occupiers have 10 minutes to clear plaza, or face arrest.
Update, 3:20 p.m.: Cops are reportedly telling Occupy Bank of America Plaza protesters that bank officials get to decide when the occupiers will be evicted. The guys manning the Occupy L.A. live stream say they see police officers loading up tear gas.
Originally posted at 2:30 p.m.: Occupy L.A. protesters have formed human walls at all entrances to the Bank of America Plaza, where hundreds of LAPD officers are attempting to enter and deconstruct their new pop-up camp.
This "Occupy Bank of America Plaza" group splintered off from protesters screwing up traffic at Grand and Fifth earlier today -- all part of a national Day of Action. (For more on this morning's activities, including a bunch of video footage, see our previous coverage.) About 20 tents have been pitched so far, according to a photographer we know at the scene.
He says that "200 to 300 cops have totally surrounded the place" and warned protesters that "they have five minutes to disperse." That was well over five minutes ago, though, and it appears no arrests have been made.
But that could happen at any second. Police are fully outfitted in pepper spray, rubber bullets and batons, Tweet witnesses from the scene. "MASSIVE riot squad assembling," says one woman.
The grassy, tree-shaded plaza is reportedly owned by Brookfield Office Properties, the owners of Zuccotti Park. So perhaps this mini tent city is more of a statement than occupying City Hall, where the mayor has pretty much shrugged his shoulders and decided to wait this Occupy thing out.
At least one bus is ready to cart protesters who refuse to disperse off the private property where they've set up camp.
LAPD are reportedly speaking with Bank of America officials about how to proceed. Live stream here from within the crowd in the grassy knoll. Updates to come.