Occupy Tampa, hoping to “liberate” public space, entered Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park on Thursday night and called it their “new home.” But the police would not allow them to stay and arrested 29 Occupy Tampa participants.
According to WTSP, fifty attempted to occupy the park. Twenty left the park when police began to give orders to leave or be arrested. The action was part of “Public Space Liberation Day,” which they describe on the Occupy Tampa website:
Occupy Tampa, continuing to exercise the right to peacefully assemble as granted by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, announces the imminent liberation of a public space. Occupation is a form of peaceful protest and is guaranteed to United States citizens by the Constitution, the supreme law of the land…
The occupation petitioned Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn earlier in the week to allow tents, tables and other items in the park. WMNF reports the mayor’s chief of staff refused to grant more “accommodations.” Any occupiers who disobeyed “city ordinances, for example by having tents in a public park,” would be arrested. (The occupation has been sleeping on sidewalk in front of Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park for over 7 weeks.)
Occupy Tampa has tried to occupy a public park throughout the day but they have found that the police will not allow bags and various other items in the park if they are engaged in political expression. In the video below, an officer sternly tells an individual (who is possibly a veteran) that he is doing his job and he cannot take his stuff in the park. He says something to the officer about having a picnic in the park. The officer replies, “You’re not having a picnic. You’re protesting.” Another officer says you can’t take your family out and protest and then bring stuff out.
There had been arrests of occupiers before the twenty-nine arrests last night but nothing on this scale. The arrests just about doubled the number of people who had been arrested thus far for trying to occupy a park space in Tampa.
Firedoglake’s premier live blog continues now. Here is a Twitter list to follow for the latest updates from occupations all over the country.
5:45 PM This was posted more than ten days ago, but it is a very important post on Tim Pool, a person who has become well-know for his Ustream from Occupy Wall Street. Jay Rosen, who runs the Press Think blog, dissects what Tim Pool does and how he is transforming citizen journalism. (*Firedoglake’s coverage of the Scooter Libby trial gets a mention.)
Being a livestream he acts as ‘eyes and ears’ for the viewers. Literally. People will tell him to move the camera somewhere and he’ll do it. They’ll ask for interviews with someone, and Tim will go over and do so… The viewers will ask him questions and he won’t rest until he gets them their answers.
5:38 PM Blaming Occupy LA for LA’s budget shortfalls
5:32 PM Occupy Green/Red Chile – on a mission to protect New Mexico’s chile seeds.
5:26 PM Very good myFDL diary on the First Amendment and Occupy from KrisAinTX
4:56 PM Max Blumenthal on the “Israelification of America’s security apparatus“:
In October, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department turned parts of the campus of the University of California in Berkeley into an urban battlefield. The occasion was Urban Shield 2011, an annual SWAT team exposition organized to promote “mutual response,” collaboration and competition between heavily militarized police strike forces representing law enforcement departments across the United States and foreign nations.
At the time, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department was preparing for an imminent confrontation with the nascent “Occupy” movement that had set up camp in downtown Oakland, and would demonstrate the brunt of its repressive capacity against the demonstrators a month later when it attacked the encampment with teargas and rubber bullet rounds, leaving an Iraq war veteran in critical condition and dozens injured. According to Police Magazine, a law enforcement trade publication, “Law enforcement agencies responding to…Occupy protesters in northern California credit Urban Shield for their effective teamwork.”
2:41 PM Occupy Phoenix and others now protest the Salt River Project, a utility company in Arizona that is on the board of ALEC. The action continues the Occupy ALEC demonstrations that have been going on during an ALEC conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. Police lined up in formation and made eight arrests. Five people were detained. Unclear for what but chatter on Twitter suggests they were on the sidewalk and police wanted them to move.
Watch this livestream for the latest video from the scene.
1:58 PM Yasha Levine of eXiled on the appalling treatment Occupy LA protesters received at the hands of LAPD:
…don’t believe the PR bullshit. There was nothing peaceful or professional about the LAPD’s attack on Occupy LA–not unless you think that people peacefully protesting against the power of the financial oligarchy deserve to be treated the way I saw Russian cops treating the protesters in Moscow and St. Petersburg who were demonstrating against the oligarchy under Putin and Yeltsin, before we at The eXiled all got tossed out in 2008. Back then, everyone in the West protested and criticized the way the Russian cops brutally snuffed out dissent, myself included. Now I’m in America, at a demonstration, watching exactly the same brutal crackdown…
He says most of the abuse happened to protesters already in police custody, “outside the range” of the press/news media. Some sadistic examples:
*The 100 protesters in my detainee group were kept handcuffed with their hands behind their backs for 7 hours, denied food and water and forced to sit/sleep on a concrete floor. Some were so tired they passed out face down on the cold and dirty concrete, hands tied behind their back. As a result of the tight cuffs, I wound up losing sensation in my left palm/thumb and still haven’t recovered it now, a day and a half after they finally took them off.
* One seriously injured protester, who had been shot with a shotgun beanbag round and had an oozing bloody welt the size of a grapefruit just above his elbow, was denied medical attention for five hours. Another young guy, who complained that he thought his arm had been broken, was not given medical attention for at least as long. Instead, he spent the entire pre-booking procedure handcuffed to a wall, completely spaced out and staring blankly into space like he was in shock.
* An Occupy LA demonstrator in his 50s who was in my cell block in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center told us all about when a police officer forced him to take a shit with his hands handcuffed behind his back, which made pulling down his pants and sitting down on the toilet extremely difficult and awkward. And he had to do this in sight of female police officers, all of which made him feel extremely ashamed, to say the least.
We’re to believe abuse/torture at Abu Ghraib or even Guantanamo was the result of just a few bad apples. There are only a few laws/social norms standing in the way of protesters being treated much worse and they seem to be dwindling. The prison regimes here have not been influenced by Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo. Those prison regimes are exports from America. Just read the Solitary Watch blog. This is how detainees/prisoners are treated in America.
1:53 PM Occupiers in Iowa will be protesting drone warfare at a drone manufacturing facility in Cedar Rapids.
1:30 PM Roundup on police violence during Occupy LA eviction: from LA Weekly, photojournalist was mauled. The post includes video, which I posted here a few days ago and which CBS has been taking down (but video keeps going back up). Also, Lisa Derrick gets a mention for her coverage of the eviction. One of her photos of a protester’s bruised hand is used.
1:16 PM The farce that is the Boston Police Department seizure of Occupy Boston’s kitchen sink
1:01 PM I really enjoy and find all the musicians that are playing at occupations to be critical to the Occupy movement. That includes famous and lesser known musicians especially ones you might call “underground.” I did a post on Jackson Browne & Dawes playing Zuccotti yesterday that includes video of their entire performance.
12:58 PM Now, here’s video of Occupy ALEC getting pepper sprayed by police. The spray was orange like the spray was that was used on UC Davis students. Not only are they sprayed but police also destroy a banner being carried.
10:20 AM Naomi Wolf’s lengthy rebuttal to Joshua Holland of AlterNet, who helped promote a backlash against Wolf when she wrote “The Shocking Truth Behind the Crackdown on Occupy,” and suggested Homeland Security was involved. The initial post could have been better sourced. Holland was upset with the lack of evidence in her Comment is free article at The Guardian. Now, she has fired back with some pretty substantial arguments to support calling attention to Homeland Security’s role in the crackdowns on occupations.
Joshua Holland will have a post soon in response to Wolf’s rebuttal. I haven’t written anything for The Dissenter on this discussion yet but it is tempting. The coordination between municipalities and federal government is obviously happening. As Wolf’s post indicates, Truthout‘s Jason Leopold is trying to piece together evidence to show the extent of cooperation.
10:15 AM Rep. Donna Edwards makes certain she speaks to Occupy DC during their protest at the DCCC fundraiser last night. Her appearance seems to have brought out the age-old tension among left-leaning activists: To support or not to support Democrats?
10:10 AM Jackson Browne appeared on “Countdown” last night. Here’s the clip: