On July 12th, participants in OccupyLA met to raise awareness for unlawful arrests of activists that had been targeting a lobby group with a stranglehold on power over local and state politics. The activists handed out chalk and shared the story of unlawful arrests and police repression. The LAPD responded by amassing in riot gear and issuing a tactical alert effectively shutting down the Downtown LA art walk and trapping many patrons inside of local businesses as a response to chalk art being drawn on the sidewalk. The mainstream media misrepresented the sequence of events, blaming occupiers for the near riot in Downtown LA even though the police were responsible for escalation.
The public, frustrated by the absurdity of police violence over 'sidewalk chalk', filled the streets demanding that the police cease their intimidation over what many consider a fundamental right to free speech and assembly. The law enforcement arm of the state saw fit to intervene violently in a peaceful expression of free speech and 'do it yourself' art, on behalf of the private interests that control the downtown space. They shot the crowd with the near lethal force of rubber bullets and foam grenades inciting fear and panic so that their violent intervention appears justified. In light of recent police murders in Anaheim, it is important we show that crowd control tactics taken against any who dare protest are not acceptable uses of force by any police state. More than that, these acts of terror by the police state will not deter us from assembling and seeking justice for our communities.
The political and financial elite cannot bear to see us assemble, cannot bear for us to share ideas and strategies or grow our vision and movement into revolution. We know that this is not about chalk. It is about whose interests are affected by our message, whose interests are protected when so-called public servants protect lifeless sidewalks from the messages of a frustrated populace. It is about censorship, political freedom and the merger of corporation and state working to silence the voice of the people. It is about the extrajudicial authority of the national security apparatus for the mere purpose of intimidating the masses into silence.
On August 9th, Occupy Los Angeles calls for you to fill your squares and take your streets and sidewalks with chalk. Call to all people everywhere to show that dissent is as simple as writing your grievances on the sidewalk, as accessible as hopscotch in the streets- reclaiming public space and engaging in public dialogue and expression. Join us (if you're close enough) for a day of solidarity and fun to celebrate the human spirit and chalk for our collective liberation. Together we will remake the art of public life in our alley ways, on the doorsteps of banks whose only allegiance is to profit, and in the streets built by our labor.
In solidarity, regardless of all nations and borders, we will engage in willful public expression against political repression.
SUBMIT CHALK PHOTOS HERE: http://chalkitout.tumblr.com/