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Protestors: Occupy L.A. Is Here to Stay

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Occupy LA protestor Mario Britto talks with Conan Nolan about the movement that city leaders say is costing LA too much money and trouble.

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Occupy Los Angeles demonstrators have been camping on the lawns around city hall since Oct. 1, and according to some city officials that's long enough.

But protestors, who have remained peaceful during the four weeks of their demonstrations, have said they won’t be going anymore.

“Have we made our point? Yes, we’ve changed the public debate, but has the issue of corporation and corporate power and corporate personhood been addressed by the Congress or the Senate? No, it hasn’t,” said Mario Britto, member of Occupy L.A.’s general assembly who spoke on behalf of the protestors.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he would like an exit strategy, but Britto would rather he join the assembly.

The mayor “should have the conviction of his comments and meet with (us),” Britto said.
Other officials, including Senator Dianne Feinstein, have commented that members of the movement have articulated their right to free speech, but they cannot occupy these public spaces forever.

“Our issues have been given lip service, and we’ll be here until our issues are actually addressed in a realistic and real fashion,” Britto said.

Critics of the movement have noted the multitude of messages among the crowd of protestors, but Britto said that’s the beauty of their movement.

“It’s a microcosm of this country,” he said. “There are different people with different points of view, but we all stand on one issue, that the economic inequalities in this country have to be addressed. We all stand on the issue of economic justice.”

Economics, including overtime for police and landscaping, have played a significant role in the arguments made by city officials who would like to see the campers pack up. Britto said the group has policed and governed itself well, and if new sod must be put in, protestors will volunteer to do it themselves.

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