Skid Row Los Angeles Rally

STOP THE SWEEPS NOW!!

Since last August, Skid Row’s homeless people have undergone the largest mass arrests of homeless people in L.A. history; hundreds of homeless people each month now have faced multiple daily raids of police demanding warrant checks, searches and property confiscation –as waves of 50 new LAPD officers brought to the area have swept through for daily beatings and arrests of homeless people –in order to now clear downtown for the newest wave of luxury loft developers. The Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness estimates as many as 4,000 poor and homeless people may have had police demand their ID; handcuffed them; searched through every bag, suitcase, and possession they have –and then been transported to the LAPD booking room; and cuffed to a bench for up to an hour or more before being given a “choice:”

get into a “shelter” –or go to jail.

A Federal Court recently found almost 90,000 homeless people in Los Angeles County –and less than 30,000 shelter beds.

Incredibly, Central Division is getting away with now not classify these Skid Row actions as “arrests” –Division Captain Andrew Smith even recently claims that arrests on Skid Row “declined” this year. (citing only about an additional 2,000 “official arrests”).

http://www.downtownnews.com/articles/2007/01/08/news/news01.txt

LAPD are conducting a mass disinformation campaign that has hid the actual arrests figures since last November.

http://la.indymedia.org/news/2006/11/188692.php

Nor do these figures include recent pre-dawn raids –where sleeping residents are woke up and are told, now, since the first of the year, to “leave in 20 minutes” or be arrested.

Additionally, since the first of the year, Skid Row Police are systematically clearing now entire streets in pre-dawn raids: Los Angeles, San Pedro, 5th St. and Crocker St. –and herding people towards the L.A. river –demanding that thousands of homeless people maintain themselves now in the fifty blocks of Skid Row for up to 2&1/2 hours each day without any public water source; only one public toilet that’s not in a religious mission; and not a single public place to lie down, or even sit, until 8:30 a.m..; when only two tiny parks, with barely enough rain cover for 50 people, are supposed to serve a street population of up to 4,000 at any given time.

A homeless person on Skid Row was mocked last week by one LAPD policeman, “By the end of this month all this will be gone” –referring to the thousands of homeless people here who are breaking no law, and yet are facing daily, unprecedented, cop harassment. LA City Council insiders are even warning activists that such raids are being now contemplated soon for Hollywood, Venice, the Valley, and South L.A..

Stated Robert Erlinbusch, Director of the anti-poverty advocacy group, The Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness:

“There are also many reasons why people will refuse to go to shelters; firstly, they are almost always full –making them impossible for many to get into -and, additionally, shelters separate unmarried partners; they often refuse to accommodate people’s dogs or other pets; or provide adequate storage and transport of possessions; they do not accommodate mothers with children of certain ages; and they are often places extreme, and unlawful, hostility to anyone of the LGBT community.”

A Federal Court order currently forbids LAPD from arresting anyone for merely sleeping on the sidewalk in the Skid Row area between 9 p.m. at night, and 6 a. m. each morning.

People are urged to bring signs, banners, and self-standing tents with footprints no larger than 8’x8′; solar panels; water; legal internet relay antennas; healthy vegetarian food and –respect for ALL residents here –for the rally, and to support the growing community resistance.

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