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Arrests Made at Occupy Long Beach Site, Participants Claim Police Are Confusing, Harassing Them

An Occupy Long Beach participant, identified by the LB Post as 19-year-old Jonah Quest, being arrested (Photo via Occupy Long Beach on Facebook)
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Occupy Long Beach kicked off on Saturday, and by the following night, the protesters had already experienced several unpleasant interactions with Long Beach police, resulting in two arrests and other citations.The Long Beach Press-Telegram offers scant details of the Sunday night confrontations at Lincoln Park, which involved two participants, a minor and a 30-year-old man, arrested for camping after hours in a public park. The minor was also "charged with obstructing police officers." Additionally, two men were cited and released at the scene.

"Many of the 100 or so OLBers present remained in the park long after 10 p.m., stepping down to the sidewalk only at 11 p.m., when roughly 10 police officers arrived bodily to clear the park, which was effected without incident," elaborates the LB Post.

Long Beach does not permit being in the park after 10 p.m., and does not allow "camping" in the city.

Participant Ben Fisher told us via email that the location was chosen specifically because it offered an opportunity to "provide visibility to the homeless problem the city seems to want to sweep under the rug, as well as to be close to the center of power in our city." Fisher says the OLB group has tried to work with city officials and the police "to make sure [they] were as transparent as possible."

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Here is Fisher's breakdown of Sunday night's events at Occupy Long Beach:

On Saturday night, the police informed us that it is illegal to be in Lincoln Park after 10pm, so we complied, and took to the sidewalk.

At 10:15pm, we were told that no temporary structures were allowed on the sidewalk, so we took down our tents.

At 11:45pm we were told a number of strange things by LBPD, including that we could not lie down and sleep on the sidewalk, but could only sleep sitting up.

A bit later in the night we were told that we could sleep in a chair in a sleeping bag, but if we were on the ground, we could not be wrapped in anything, but were allowed to "lay" a blanket or sleeping bag on top of ourselves.

We were then later told that we could not have anything protecting us from the elements, because such barriers were considered temporary shelters. They specifically prohibited us from using blankets or sleeping bags, but informed us that jackets were not considered temporary shelters.

After that we were told that it was illegal to sleep in public, and we were prohibited from sleeping on the sidewalk, and prohibited from protecting ourselves from the elements.
Fisher adds that the police set up three sets of floodlights running on generators before sunup, which he says contributed to the group's sleep deprivation.

19-year-old Jonah Quest was the unnamed "minor" arrested. He spoke with the LB Post about his experience:

"The police last night harassed us," [...] "It was a cat-and-mouse game that was played. First they told us that we couldn't have tents [in the park], that we had to move them onto the sidewalk. Then they kept [adding prohibitions], 'til eventually at 6 o'clock in the morning we weren't allowed to sleep at all — not in the park, not on the sidewalk, nothing. … If the police had been honest with us in the beginning, we would have been much more cooperative."

Fisher says the group is seeking legal counsel.

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