UPDATE: 11:44 P.M., OCT. 22: Click here for updates, including names of the arrested and what the group plans on doing next.
UPDATE, 11:11 P.M., OCT. 22: Editor's note--Four arrests confirmed by Occupy OC organizer Alicia Rojas for resisting no camping order. One of the arrested was an Iraq war vet named Anthony Velloza.
UPDATE, 10:45 P.M., OCT. 22: Editor's note--we're hearing four protesters have been arrested. According to a witness, as of 10:15 P.M., an estimated 75-100 protesters were still present at the Santa Ana Civic Center refusing to disperse. Mounted police then moved in. Occupy Santa Ana has also left a comment on the arrests on the official OC Weekly Facebook page. See bottom of post for screen grab. Stay tuned for more details.
ORIGINAL POST, 5:26 P.M., OCT. 22: Just under 200 feisty protesters with Occupy Orange County marched Santa Ana streets this afternoon, chanted anti-corporate slogans and won supportive horn honks More than two dozen uniformed law enforcement agents--in vehicles, on foot and riding horses--carefully monitored the peaceful protesters as they gathered in a park across the street from the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse at noon and then zigzagged down sidewalks to a branch of Chase Bank.
"Down with Chase, not the human race!" the crowd shouted under the leadership of Theo Hirsch, an outspoken local musician.
The high-energy, bandana-donning Hirsch inspired the protesters repeatedly by sparking passionate chants throughout the three-hour event. While yelling, "Power to the people; not the one percent," he seemed to cause six, armed federal protective service agents to rush over to the area and shoot menacing glares before eventually retreating.
When he wasn't using a bullhorn, Hirsch held a handmade sign: "F*ck the Federal Reserve and their little bitches on Wall Street."
Alicia Rojas, a Santa Ana artist and one of the event organizers, faced off with Burton Liao, a proud college Republican who showed up to start a counter demonstration that never materialized. Liao--a self-identified Ron Paul fan and Cal State Fullerton junior--argued that the protesters were misguided and unproductive.
While people chanted, "This is what democracy looks like, Liao told Rojas, "I'm not against liberals. But you are protesting against the corporations when you should be protesting against the government. The government is making it difficult for the corporations. The government is the problem, not the corporations."
Rojas rolled her eyes and told Liao that this "isn't a Republican or Democrat thing but about the top versus the bottom [on the economic scale.]"
Replied Liao, "The protesters would be better off learning so that they can get a job from a corporation."
Nearby, Gilda Victoria held a large poster that depicted the melding images of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Asked to explain, the Santa Ana woman said, "Same, Bush and Obama."
Unlike last weekend's related Irvine rally, young people dominated this one in Santa Ana, but there were also grandmothers like Marsha Russo in attendance. Russo said she was inspired to personally protest after reading news reports about the Occupy Wall Street protests.
"I agree with a lot of what those people are saying," said the retired Buena Park woman. "I lost two-thirds of my 401K because of Wall Street and so I'm really disgusted with the government's bailout of Wall Street executives. We have to now stand up for what is right."
Not far away, Hirsch prompted another chant, "Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Corporate greed has go to go!"
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly
(rscottmoxley at ocweekly dot com)
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UPDATE, 10:45 P.M., OCT. 22: