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LAPD Vows To Arrest Chalk-Wielding Protesters At Occupy L.A.'s 'Chalk Walk' Tonight [UPDATED]
Police said that they plan to arrest protesters with Occupy L.A. who plan to wield sidewalk chalk at tonight's "Chalk Walk", which will coincide with the downtown Art Walk.
LAPD Capt. Horace Frank of the Central Division told the Los Angeles Times: "It's a violation of the law, it's vandalism, and we're going to make an arrest." He added that some businesses owners downtown aren't happy with chalk drawings: "My BlackBerry is burning up with pictures of businesses being vandalized."
The Times notes that the city attorney's office hasn't pressed charges in the cases of most of the people arrested for vandalism at last month's Art Walk.
Richard Schave, a founding member of the Art Walk non-profit, asked the city if it would be possible to create a "safe space" for the group to protest, after LAPD clashed with protesters at last month's "Chalk Walk." The city said that it could approve a permit for protesters to congregate at Pershing Square, but not if the event included chalking, which it does not consider lawful.
[Eds. note: a previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Richard Schave requested a permit from the city.]
The President of Public Works, Andrea Alarcon, sent Schave a letter saying that the city considers chalking illegal activity:
"Unfortunately, a request for a permit to assemble in Pershing Square for the purposes of ‘chalking’ does not fit within the parameters of our permitting structure because the use of chalk to deface public or private property is not lawful."
Occupiers, of course, disagree that chalking is illegal and point out that other groups have gotten the city's permission to use chalk in the past. Not that the city's denial and threats will do anything to stop their protest tonight. Supporters from the Bay Area, Cindy Sheehan and Code Pink are expected to show up.Some of them were already up this morning drawing homages to the First Amendment and Occupy movement in Pershing Square. A few squad cars showed up, too, which you can see on the USTREAM here: