Alleged Bomb Threat Blocks IndyMedia Satellite Transmission
The Los Angeles Police Department has informed the Independent Media Center, Shadow Convention, and other occupants of the Patriotic Building in downtown LA of an alleged bomb threat. The IMC, which occupies the 6th floor of the building, was informed of the threat around 5pm on Monday afternoon. The police have cordoned off the building's parking lot, which is preventing the IMC from broadcasting the satellite transmission of its daily live TV show, Crashing the Party. LAPD have also mentioned a possible evacuation of the building.
The LAPD received the tip, a description of a vehicle that police said matched the IMC's VW van, from an unknown source at their command post. A member of the National Lawyer's Guild reported that police told her they received the tip this morning, but did not arrive at the Patriotic Building until late afternoon, moments before the live broadcast of the IMC's Crashing the Party. Their presence blocked Indy Media from accessing its satellite transmission equipment, necessary to relay the program to television networks.
The county police, responding to orders from the LAPD, cordoned off the parking lot and detained 3 activists involved with radio operations of the Independent Media Center. According to Ben Rosenfeld of the National Lawyer's Guild, who witnessed police activities, the county police searched the van without waiting for the bomb squad to arrive. He said the police found no evidence and announced that they would release the detained activists.
Soon after, they reneged on that statement, saying that the activists would be detained until the bomb squad arrived. For a time, the bomb squad refused to come to the scene, citing insufficient evidence. It is unknown what finally convinced them to come. Once initiated, county police claim that the bomb squad could not be turned back because of issues of "hierarchy." Another member of the National Lawyer's Guild expressed concern that protesters' First Amendment rights were being roundly violated by the police occupation.