9:31 PM Planned “Occupy the Caucuses” action leads GOP to relocate vote counting during Iowa Caucus to “secret” location.

9:29 PM An Occupy London participant, caught with “anarchist literature” is stopped from boarding flight home for Christmas. Why? The fear was he might hand out literature and “upset” people.

9:24 PM New Occupy Oakland camp cleared. About twenty are cited and released, one person is arrested.

6:05 PM Earlier, four were arrested at Occupy Bellingham as riot police moved in to remove the camp. Occupiers moved the tents into the street and there was a standoff there that resulted in the arrests.

5:55 PM At Mitt Romney’s headquarters in Iowa, Occupy the Caucus pays Romney visit. The doors are locked. They also demonstrate outside of Wells Fargo. Ten are arrested. A tent goes up at one point during the action – when a policeman is talking to Romney staff.

2:52 PM Occupy Cleveland expands into a new office (but will continue to have a “tent village”).

2:40 PM Occupy Albany’s case moves to federal court

2:35 PM About twenty or so cops are evicting the Bellingham camp right now. See bottom of live blog for a Ustream of the eviction that is underway.

12:10 PM Tents coming down at Occupy Bellingham

11:20 AM City requests Occupy Louisville remove its tents. The occupation will fight the city’s request.

11:00 AM Occupiers plan to protest at the Rose Parade and, so, to handle the threat of peaceful protest, hundreds of thousands of dollars will be spent to protect this celebration from being polluted by the message of the 99%.

10:47 AM Occupy Wall Street’s New Year’s Eve Celebration – details on the planned event here.

10:36 AM There has been no shortage of marches, protests, rallies, strikes, etc, to cover in 2011. The Guardian has a video from John Domokos on filming the protests this year.

10:30 AM New Occupy encampment springs up in a vacant lot in Oakland

10:23 AM DC Park Police remove another structure from the Occupy DC camp in McPherson Square.

Original Post

In hours, the city will move in to evict Occupy Bellingham in Bellingham, Washington. The City of Bellingham’s Parks and Recreation Department handed the camp an eviction notice that says they must be gone by 9 am on Wednesday, December 28.

The group’s lawyer, Larry Hildes, finds the city is doing this now because they expect only a handful of people to be around, given that the country is still in the midst of the holiday season:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the City. Great!…They are doing this over the holidays, when no one is around to see. There is no reason to be doing this now, there is no reason to be doing this at all. Occupy Bellingham is not disrupting anything. This violates the First Amendment, and we will fight it legally. And we expect better from the City of Bellingham than this. And clearly, we will not be expecting respect for the First Amendment from the city of Bellingham in the future, and they should be ashamed of themselves.

According to the Bellingham Herald, Mayor Dan Pike aims to take the NIMBY approach. He says the decision to evict “was not an easy one to make” because “he agrees with some points that the protesters are trying to make, but he thinks it’s time for them to try to spread their message in a different way that doesn’t damage the parks or cost taxpayers money.”

He supports the movement so long as they are not “occupying” the property he is tasked with presiding over as mayor of Bellingham. So, his stance on the movement is really not in my backyard or NIMBY. Take the movement somewhere else.

“They’re using city property to try to gain attention to an issue that’s a much bigger issue, and it’s coming at the expense of the city,” declared Pike. Essentially, Bellingham is tired of putting up with Occupy Bellingham’s presence.

The encampment started on October 28 in Maritime Heritage Park. They were hit with a wind storm on Christmas but managed to survive. One occupier wrote in the aftermath:

We already have what other communities have lost, or were never able to get off the ground in the first place. A functioning, horizontally integrated camp that already is a place for gathering, the exchange of ideas, and fellowship among individuals from diverse ethnic, sexual orientation, and socio-economic backgrounds. The camp also serves as a place for visitors from other Occupy locations to stay while they are here.

The way the camp is described it sounds like the camp could serve as an example for other Occupy groups across the nation struggling to defuse tension among occupiers and make operations run more smoothly. It appears Bellingham occupiers have truly built a community that is a kind of democratic and utopian oasis in the middle of a city that is likely rife with problems that all cities in America are struggling to confront. It would seem the occupiers have bravely faced down some of the city’s biggest issues and succeeded up to this point but now the mayor is moving to destroy something the occupiers built from scratch. And, while the movement can live on, the loss of a permanent presence will be extremely detrimental to the movement in Bellingham, even making it difficult for them to “take the message somewhere else.”

Firedoglake’s premier live blog resumes now. The blog will bring you the latest on Occupy Bellingham, Occupy the Iowa Caucuses and all other major Occupy stories unfolding in the country as the year’s end approaches. All updates are EST. Email any news tips, questions and updates to [email protected]