Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans sent in police early this morning to crack down on Occupy NOLA. The eviction appeared to be much less of a standoff than other evictions. All but one person in Duncan Plaza left the area when police arrived. That one person insisted on being arrested. Duncan
The eviction was characterized as “well-executed” and “well-organized” by Landrieu at a press conference following the eviction. He noted that there had been 150 people in “structures” in the park and everyone had been given an opportunity to move. The city had people notifying occupiers that it was time to pack up and leave on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They were told “if they did not move we would have to take care of them so we could begin to address public health risks.”
Like mayors of other cities, Landrieu justified the eviction as being something that would “give” the park back to citizens of New Orleans. He made clear occupiers would not be allowed to hold an around-the-clock occupation in any other parks in New Orleans. He stated, “When people are in parks illegally, we’re going to enforce the law.”
The eviction was carried out in spite of a request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) filed by the occupation’s legal team. A hearing was scheduled for 10:30 am this morning before US District Court Judge Jay Zainey, according to the New Orleans blog, The Gambit. The City Attorney’s Office appears to have deliberately misled Occupy NOLA’s legal team because the legal team was told Monday night by the Office Duncan Plaza would not be evicted.
A complaint filed by the legal team in conjunction with a request for a TRO declares:
Plaintiffs and others, calling themselves Occupy New Orleans, have peacefully occupied Duncan Plaza since October 6, 2011. This group has been protesting the dramatic inequality and economic injustice in the USA and has by their actions and by their speech expressed their views on any number of social justice issues by regularly engaging in open meetings, sharing food and other resources, and by maintaining a 24 hour presence in the park.
It is possible a judge could hear arguments from the legal team and grant Occupy NOLA a TRO. Occupy Columbia in South Carolina had 19 occupiers arrested for trespassing when Gov. Nikki Haley had police move in to evict the occupation in November. After the eviction. a judge granted the occupation a TRO, which gave them the right to return to the Statehouse grounds they had been occupying until December 1. (Since then, charges have been dropped against all 19 occupiers and the suit filed has moved to federal court.)
UPDATE – 5:54 PM The Gambit, a blog of New Orleans, reports: Occupy NOLA has won a temporary restraining order that allows occupiers to resume their 24/7 occupation of Duncan Plaza. The TRO is good for seven days. Tents are allowed but no open flames, electrical cords or animals are permitted. Property seized and destroyed during the eviction will not be returned. It was crushed by a dump truck. Bill Quigley is part of the Occupy NOLA legal team and says “people whose stuff was taken, we’re going to talk to them and see what we can do about that.” Both Quigley and Swanson are considering filing suits for civil damages or criminal contempt against the city.
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OCCUPY HOMES ACTION IN OAKLAND
OCCUPY HOMES ACTION IN NEW YORK
11:55 PM Blow-by-blow of today’s Occupy Homes action at the day of action’s official website
9:22 PM Home being defended in Oakland for Occupy Homes Day of Action (photo via @davidcolburn)
8:13 PM Congressman Jerrold Nadler pens a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking for details on abuse of Occupy Wall Street protesters and journalists covering the demonstrations by police.
8:12 PM Occupy Boston rescues the infamous sink from Boston Police
8:08 PM NYPD charged the home, the Quincy house, which Occupy Wall Street had held an Occupy Homes action around. Earlier, they moved a family back into the home and then began to help clean up the house. Police are not supposed to be doing this because the marshal has not been here yet. Yet they pushed and shoved everyone in the home out. People are still lingering. Police presence still at the home.
There is a report that a court hearing is planned for tomorrow and Quincy will have an opportunity to show they have a right to the home.
6:16 PM Occupy Hartford is evicted. Kind of pathetic actually. You would think there would be more people from Hartford to support the occupation. They tried to organize a rally at 3 pm before 6 pm, when they were supposed to leave. They had only 10 or 15 people show up. There are only maybe a dozen occupiers. That doesn’t seem right. I visited this occupation on my tour and there were many tents and looked like this occupation had huge potential. It looks like they never quite got organized. In any case, there are many police, more than necessary for the few that tried to hold their ground. (via @sddunn)
5:41 PM Mostly Republicans visited by #99inDC (Take Back the Capitol) but some Democrats were visited: Van Hollen, Hoyer, Reid, Ross and Shuler were visited. I sent out a tweet before I had all the information that suggested no Democrats had been visited. I was corrected by someone who said some Democrats had come out of their offices to meet with people sitting outside of locked offices.
5:28 PM No arrests but people were thrown around by police at Occupy Homes action.
4:29 PM Now a quick round-up on all the #99inDC action that has happened (the “Take Back the Capitol” action in DC):
Rep. Joe Walsh flees 99 percenters, refuses to meet w/small business owner whose business is struggling because of home foreclosures and school closures…Rep. Pete Olson won’t meet with Occupy Houston…In Senator Dean Heller’s office, occupiers watch MSNBC cover occupiers confronting members of Congress…Occupiers sit in at Sen. Jon Kyl’s office. They have been occupying his DC office for 4 hours. There are actually people in both offices and one says he is in DC and the other says he is in Arizona. Where’s Jon Kyl?…And, finally, Illinois senators normally have weekly coffee with constituents and have for 20 years but today for some odd reason, maybe because hundreds are out protesting, coffee with constituents is not on the schedule.
4:14 PM In a police standoff, a Texas woman shot herself and her two kids in a state welfare office after struggling for months to qualify for food stamps. The two kids are in critical condition. The mother is dead.
The incident just adds further context to the conditions in American society, which Occupy is confronting. Think about it: It is so difficult to get welfare in this country that a mother would rather just kill herself and her two kids than watch them starve or struggle to live. She would rather kill herself and her kids than fail to provide for them.
A Texas woman who for months was unable to qualify for food stamps pulled a gun in a state welfare office and staged a seven-hour standoff with police that ended with her shooting her two children before killing herself, officials said Tuesday.
The children, a 10-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl, remained in critical condition Tuesday. The shooting took place at a Texas Department of Health and Human Services building in Laredo, where police said about 25 people were inside at the time.
4:00 PM Banner unfurled on roof of home just reclaimed by Brooklyn family
3:53 PM This is all very fascinating and inspiring. Of course, reclamation of homes or squatting has been going on for some time, as groups have been engaged in anti-eviction campaigns for past years. But today in cities all over this type of action has officially become part of the Occupy movement. The movement has officially expanded from occupying public space into helping the public reclaim homes lost to the banks.
3:50 PM An eviction watch crew is on the scene in New York.
3:45 PM Rally outside of foreclosed home at 702 Vermont Street has concluded as family is moving into home with support of Occupy Wall Street sanitation working group. The group is going to help renovate and clean the home. There are housewarming gifts coming into the home. These hundreds of people are helping the family reclaim their home.
Police are in the area watching. They are letting people move in and clean and stand around this property for the moment. A brass brand is playing. Additionally, there will be a press conference in a bit.
3:40 PM Livestream getting fancy. I am seeing this stream embedded above switch between cameras streaming at the scene.
3:27 PM The house, according to Josh Harkinson of Mother Jones, is “a house with cheap vinyl siding on a block of brick row homes.” It is at 702 Vermont Street.
3:09 PM Jared Malsin posts a photo of the final foreclosed home the Occupy Homes action in Brooklyn has arrived at
3:08 PM @BlogDiva posts this photo she took which she says got her a “police escort”
2:55 PM Josh Harkinson of Mother Jones reports the march in Brooklyn is headed to main event now where there will likely be squatting. Moments ago, this woman spoke who said her son died in Iraq and now she is about to lose her home (photo from Harkinson):
1:40 PM The planned Occupy Homes action in Brooklyn, NY, has begun with hundreds gathering just off the Pennsylvania stop. They are marching. There are city council members there in support.
12:50 PM Actions have begun in last hours. In Chicago, where I am right now, there are two actions underway. One is a house warming party for a family that “liberated a foreclosed home” in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood of Chicago. Another involves a vacant, bank-owned building on Van Buren St that is being cleaned and boarded up by the South Austin Coalition (SACC).
…Staff, students, and parents of the nearby May Elementary school [have] complained for months about the dangers posed by this vacant home. Unable to get the city or the owner, Citibank, to take responsibility for properly maintaining the building, elementary school students, staff and parents will work with community activists to clean it up before determining how it can best serve community
Tim Pool will be live streaming from an Occupy Homes action in New York soon. So, I will embed that stream. For now, that is what the blog will feature.
Sean Penn comes to the aid of Occupy LA and prevents the city from citing a film shoot to infringe upon the rights of demonstrators. Here is what happened:
…The LAPD were enforcing the filming permit and telling occupiers that the “free speech zone” was moved to the east steps for the day and night.
While it is fine for the LAPD to make such a decree, Occupy L.A. works on consensus, so the GA was unable to move without discussing it first. As the start of GA approached, some of the occupiers sat down on the sidewalk in protest, while others held strong against a police line that blocked entry on to the west steps. Tensions were running high and several were ready to risk arrest for free speech.
…And then my phone rings. A scruffy voice says, “Hello Joan?” and I reply, “Yes.”
He responds, “This is Sean Penn. Where are you? What is happening?”
I explain to Sean that “the film crew is across the street, but is using the west side of City Hall as a back drop. Occupy L.A. is being told that we can not meet here because our shadows are ruining the shot.”
Sean asks if I am willing to go over and meet with the director of the film to help resolve the issue, “Go alone and tell them you are my friend and that you need to speak to Ruben Fleischer.” Moreover, he says that he is willing to pay for digital editing to remove people and shadows from the shots of City Hall. He tells me that he supports Occupy and did not know that the film was doing these re-shoots in the same place that the Mayor set aside for free speech activities.
11:50 AM A Denver police officer created a fake Twitter account to harass Occupy Denver “idiots.” This was found out at a hearing on a TRO against the Denver police:
After a day spent, with the exception of three recesses, entirely in federal court, lead plaintiff attorney David Lane sounded more than optimistic about his side’s chance for success in guaranteeing a temporary restraining order against the City and County of Denver. “I’d say it’s probable,” Lane said of the outcome. “We’ve put in a lot of time on this case. If we win, the city has to pay our legal fees, and then we’ll really count the hours.”
11:44 AM On mayors using the “language of dirt, of disease and contagion” to shut down Occupy camps – a very excellent summation of how the “public safety & health” argument is all a pretext to infringe upon First Amendment rights of Americans
11:00 AM Don Terry for the Chicago News Co-Op writes about the actions planned for today around “Occupy Our Homes.” He talks to J.R. Fleming from the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign.
A coalition of community organizations, including Occupy Chicago and Occupy the Hood Chicagohave been holding training sessions in recent days to prepare for a “homes for the holiday” campaign to find housing for poor women and children.
The groups plan to break into and rehab vacant bank-owned foreclosed homes throughout the city and hand them over to homeless families in a series of news conferences and “house warming’’ events on Dec. 6.
“Since this is the holiday season, we’re trying to get the banks into the spirit of giving,’’ said Willie J.R. Fleming, co-founder of the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign, as he conducted a training session for more than 60 people last Saturday afternoon on the South Side. “We want to hit the banks with jabs and upper cuts and everything imaginable.’’
10:54 AM The City of London police list Occupy movement in London under “domestic terrorism/extremism threats to City businesses.”
9:53 AM Short film on the hunger strikers at Occupy Wall Street who are striking to convince Trinity Church to give them space for an occupation
9:44 AM Today is an “Occupy Our Homes” Day of Action—find an event near you.
9:30 AM The tent people at Occupy Melbourne were moved out by police.
9:20 AM Occupy NOLA supporters will be gathering in Duncan Plaza about now to march to the hearing slated to begin at 10:30 on a temporary restraining order request.
9:15 AM There’s going to be a lot more music featured here in the blog. Let’s get things started with this Playing for Change version of “Higher Ground,” which has been tweeted around in the last 24 hours with the #OccupyMusic hashtag.