Downtown Los Angeles was transformed into a set for political theater over the weekend, with protesters pitching tents in front of City Hall and performance artists dancing on floats meandering through the streets.
Inspired by the anti-corporate Occupy Wall Street protests in New York, several hundred people set up camp in front of Los Angeles City Hall on Saturday and announced that they were there to stay.
Whether that will change when City Hall workers find themselves walking a gantlet of sign-wielding protesters Monday, or when vendors arrive to set up the regularly scheduled Thursday farmers market on the lawn, was unclear.
As protesters were staking out City Hall, the streets of downtown were taken over Sunday afternoon by a cacophonous parade of artists and activists expressing similar sentiments but organized separately.
The sleep-in followed a march and rally Saturday by a loosely organized group of activists called Occupy Los Angeles.
Tents and blankets dotted the lawn in front of City Hall on Sunday. Some people stood on the sidewalk holding signs or, in the case of one protester, playing a bagpipe, while others sprawled on blankets in the shade, painting signs, or circling up for impromptu strategy sessions. Passing cars honked in support. Supporters donated necessities such as pizza and portable toilets.
The movement takes issue with corporate influence on government and the shift of wealth and political clout toward the richest 1% of the population. Many protesters carried signs with variations on the slogan “We are the 99%.”