Police pepper sprayed protesters outside of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) summit at Scottsdale’s Westin Kierland Hotel in Arizona. Community groups, labor and Occupy Phoenix all participated to shine a light on ALEC’s “corporate takeover of state legislatures.”
Hundreds gathered for nearly two hours behind barricades before the police decided to crack down. Phoenix police unleashed pepper spray on at least ten participating in the Occupy ALEC protest. A handful of people were arrested. Protesters moved back and forth between entrances. Police surrounded them and tried to contain them so they could not move around or go across the street they were lined up around.
KTAR reported at least six arrests were made, one arrest for assaulting a police officer. The news organization interviewed someone appalled by the use of pepper spray:
“A member of the Tohono O’odham Indian Tribe who was pepper sprayed was denied medical treatment,” Diane D’Angelo, a media volunteer with Occupy Phoenix, said. “There is no reason to be pepper spraying American citizens who are trying to exercise their first amendment right.
“I think it is pretty typical of what happens to people who don’t have money, or access to power in this country at present. You get turned away, arrested or pepper sprayed. Of course it was excessive.”
Phoenix police alleged protesters assaulted them with nail-filled sticks. That is basically police speak for when we were doing “crowd control” we were touched by the sticks holding up protesters’ signs. The Fire Department was on the scene to wash out the eyes of those pepper sprayed.
Similar to the way NYPD has fortified the New York Stock Exchange to protect it from Occupy Wall Street, it seems the Phoenix Police blocked off all the entrances to the hotels to protesters and made it so there was no way any person attending the ALEC summit came in contact with protesters. That is why legislators at the conference were able to tell AZ Central they were not aware there were protests happening at the conference.
[*More on the ALEC protest action that continues tomorrow.]
Firedoglake’s premier live blog continues now. Here is a Twitter list to follow for the latest updates from various occupations around the country. Right now, there is an Occupy Wall Street march to go confront President Obama, who is at a fundraising dinner in New York tonight.
OCCUPY WALL STREET LIVESTREAM
11:41 PM Large group has mobilized to help defend Occupy Charlottesville from a raid (via @BobBrigham)
NBC29 has this photo of about 15 willing to commit civil disobedience and get arrested.
11:24 PM Today, Occupy South Bend declared victory, packed up and went home. I was out touring and never made it to Occupy South Bend in Indiana. South Bend is right next to Mishawaka, where I was born and raised. I am very proud of the fact that some people in South Bend occupied the city for two months. It would have been nice to visit, meet them and give them some supplies.
This idea of declaring victory actually seems smart to me. The tactic of occupying is still an essential part of this movement to me. But, this is a sort of art of war kind of move. Occupy South Bend may have been weakening and so they saw their limitations and decided instead of floundering they would declare victory and disappear for a while. Maybe, they will return later. If they want to return, they will not have an eviction in their past.
11:00 PM Josh Harkinson and Andrew Katz, reporters, approached penned in “Dinner with Barack” protest and tried to do interviews when they found out NYPD wasn’t letting them leave. The police pushed them out. About 15-20 minutes later, they finally let protesters go. They had been standing for 2 hours, were cold and angry. Legal is saying what NYPD did was legal and was taking down information.
10:00 PM Tom Morello plays Occupy LA — with 300 Occupy LA protesters still in jail (via @RushVarela)
9:53 PM Legal trying to get protest “unfrozen” so that protesters can leave the area.
9:51 PM Is NYPD considering putting protesters into dump trucks? (via @JohnKnefel)
9:29 PM Seems group outside Obama fundraiser has been “detained” or penned in and are not allowed to leave the area for any reason until Obama leaves the hotel.
9:22 PM NYPD guarding Obama. OWS is dubbing Obama “President of the 1%” (via @LukeRudkowski)
8:50 PM Sanitation in LA now says they will haul away 30 tons of debris before cleanup of former site of Occupy LA camp is finished. I’d just like to make clear if they are upset about all the “debris” or materials/equipment they have to clear they could have chosen to not raid the camp. They also could have chosen to never allow the camp to setup. The city did decide to tolerate the camp, which I think was the right decision. Now, why after two months it is suddenly worth prohibiting I do not know.
This story on sanitation workers and the cost of taking care of debris just amplifies this meme being hurled at Occupy protesters: “We don’t want to pay for your freedom of speech and assembly.” I don’t know if this has enough traction to neutralize the movement. I don’t know if people are getting wise to how cities are unnecessarily deploying resources to contain and crack down on the movement.
8:48 PM Photo of NYPD freezing “Free Speech Zone” outside Sheraton until Obama is all clear (via @dontbeaputz)
8:33 PM Minimum bail for Occupy LA protesters in jail is $5000.
8:20 PM The march made it to the sidewalk across from the hotel. They are likely to be moved.
8:10 PM You know, over a month ago Ed Schultz swore Occupy protesters were really frustrated Obama supporters. (Photo from @LukeRudkowski)
8:02 PM Livestream team at “Dinner with Barack” – what OWS is calling the protest outside the Obama fundraiser
7:44 PM March at 50th and 7th Avenue and almost to Sheraton. There is a load of barriers being put up around the hotel. Protesters will be corralled.
7:36 PM Occupy Charlottesville facing imminent raid. Appears local press has been told they will be evicted from the park too when police move in on the occupation. They will not be allowed to stay close to the area to report.
Each eviction, Americans learn a little bit more about where freedom of the press, freedom of speech and other freedoms have become restricted or neutralized.
7:23 PM Anti-Barack Obama march in Times Square. Helicopters are out. NYPD is flanking. Another fun night of Occupy Wall Street action. (via @DiceyTroop)
6:43 PM Big Occupy Boston march happening now – follow @LejlaOWS
6:30 PM Another photo of march headed to Sheraton where Obama is at for a fundraiser (via @johnknefel)
6:25 PM Photo of protest headed to fundraiser Obama is attending (via @chrislaker)