10:37 PM Richard Falk on the best and worst of 2011 for Al Jazeera English. Occupy makes his retrospective on the year. He writes:
Among the most extraordinary of extra-regional impacts of the events in the Arab world was the totally unanticipated Occupy Movement that began on Wall Street and spread with the speed of an uncontrollable wild fire to cities throughout the United States and then the world. The word “Occupy” was given a radically transformed meaning through this movable feast that sought to reclaim political space through nonviolent tactics that confronted the established order, particularly with regards to the excesses of capitalism and financial institutions.
10:20 PM Kristen Gwynne of AlterNet tells the stories of the Global Revolution livestreamers arrested and evicted from their studio/home a few days ago.
10:18 PM Video of Occupy Oakland media team member being arrested during a vigil a few nights ago
8:29 PM Occupy LA calls for a “year of struggle” in a statement from their General Assembly.
…We are calling for a year of struggle among all communities and across all issues to unite against state sponsored repression and assert the inherent right of the people to peacefully assemble. We will stand in solidarity together as a people, despite having different beliefs, values and political ideologies, to reestablish these rights and mobilize against corruption by special interests in our towns, cities and government…
8:19 PM LAist: Occupy LA only left behind 30 tons of garbage whereas the Rose Parade or Rose Bowl left behind 100 tons of garbage. But, don’t expect the city to halt this event from happening again.
7:48 PM Just watched Ron Paul speak to a crowd at the University of New Hampshire. CSPAN at one point showed someone holding an “Occupy the Empire” sign. Someone asked him what his thoughts were on corporate personhood. He said that no groups deserve extra privileges or rights. Only individuals deserve rights. Also, on an issue that much of the Occupy movement has taken up in recent days, the NDAA, he had nothing but words of condemnation. The crowd booed when he mentioned the passage of the NDAA.
By the way, this means there are officially 2 GOP candidates who could be considered opponents of corporate personhood. Jon Huntsman today said the notion that corporations are people is laughable. Maybe there are three candidates. Buddy Roemer is probably opposed to corporate personhood too.
6:51 PM Molly Knefel asks why there are 6 mounted police officers on Wall Street. No protest. Just chillin’ and waiting to crack down on some citizens daring to exercise their First Amendment rights?
6:48 PM A call for the Occupy movement to become part of the 2012 Election, like volunteer for Democrats and the Obama 2012 re-election campaign, undermines the true potential of Occupy. That and more in my analysis on people like Glenn Greenwald who dare to challenge the terms of political debate set by the confines of US elections.
6:47 PM There will be solidarity actions at colleges and universities on January 17 to coincide with Occupy Congress.
6:34 PM NYU student flips out when given assignment involving Occupy Wall Street. Emails show student complaining and demanding the president of NYU have her professor resign for asking her to do an assignment involving “criminals, drug addicts, mentally ill people.” Her professor was not asking her to go into any offices of financial firms or institutions on Wall Street. So, I don’t know what she’s talking about.
6:18 PM So, pundits and op-ed writers can stop claiming Occupy the Iowa Caucus had no impact. Because of the effort to get Democrats to vote “uncommitted,” there will be dozens of non-Obama delegates sent to county conventions in March.
5:50 PM Update from Occupy Bloomington
5:10 PM Still at Bloomberg’s mansion. Molly Knefel takes a photo of a beautiful sunset:
5:05 PM Occupy Chicago is demonstrating against the annual meeting of the American Economic Association (AEA) that is happening in the city. They report on Twitter that Chicago police just picked someone out of their march and arrested that occupier.
4:11 PM Why Occupy Dallas stands in solidarity with Occupy Nigeria
4:08 PM Occupy Congress is January 17. The whole movement is gearing up for this day. Washington Post’s Katie Rogers on planning and preparation for this day of action.
3:55 PM Action at Bloomberg’s mansion (see prior update) is underway. Occupy Wall Street has about 40-60 participants/supporters there. Here’s a livestream of the protest.
The block was immediately declared a “frozen zone.” Sidewalks on both sides of 79th have been closed. A giant NYPD mobile-command truck is nearby.
And from Molly:
2:30 PM Occupy Pittsburgh is in a court battle and calls for a protest against the bank BNY Mellon that is trying to evict them.
1:10 PM Some Occupy LA protesters have their cases dropped
1:00 PM The latest on Occupy Nigeria – “Nigerian police blocked protesters from marching to the capital’s main parade ground on Friday”
12:58 PM TIME‘s Nate Rawlings on Occupy Wall Street “taking aim at election season.”
12:37 PM Occupy Wall Street will be outside Bloomberg’s mansion protesting how the NYPD has been treating journalists. In recent weeks, it has become more and more evident that the police are willing to consider press a part of the protest even if they have press credentials and thus subject to arrest.
11:45 AM GOP presidential candidate Buddy Roemer, who the media rendered an “unperson” months ago, was on Democracy Now! this morning to talk about his support for the Occupy movement and campaign finance reform.
11:32 AM A review of Showtime’s new comedy “House of Lies,” which they say may be one of the best shows on the recession yet. The review says it is at “its best when it focuses specifically on the grotesqueness and desperation of the one percent, a subject that management consulting is uniquely poised to explore.” The comedy follows a group of management consultants who basically “represent all that is wrong with the American economy.”
11:30 AM Occupy Coachella Valley protesters arrested plead not guilty to “illegally sheltering” in Palm Desert Park. They are charged with “unlawful assembly,” a misdemeanor charge that carries a possible sentence of six months in jail. (h/t @aheram)
11:28 AM Outgoing police watchdog calls for a federal investigation into the Denver Police. Richard Rosenthal wrote in a report, “Members of the Internal Affairs Bureau, charged with investigating police misconduct, drag their feet in examining the incidents, fail to ask important questions, leave evidence out of their reports and show bias in favor of the officers they investigate.”
11:21 AM A city judge dismissed some of the citations against Occupy Tucson protesters
Occupy Oakland tried to occupy Oakland City Hall at 2 pm yesterday. Two occupiers were snatched by police from the doorway of City Hall and arrested. Security locked City Hall and forbid the occupiers from entering. Cops surrounded the building.
The occupation of City Hall was called by members of the occupation’s Interfaith Tent. It was in response to what happened during the night on January 4.
At about 11pm, Sri Louise and I were at the Interfaith Umbrella on Frank Ogawa Plaza, making political signs and keeping an eye on a sweet puppy named Jasmine. Others around us were gathered in small clusters talking, using computers at a new power station someone had rigged up, and eating food some of us brought to share. There were maybe 50 or 60 people total. It was all so peaceful and beautiful, and then the cry went out: “Riot Police! Watch out!”
Sure enough, more than a dozen cruisers had pulled up at high speed and were now disgorging scores of police in riot gear, who immediately began advancing on us with no order to disperse, no warning, and no explanation of what they were doing. One protester, Sven La Rose, stepped forward and began to speak to the police about what they were doing. They had him on the ground in seconds and immediately handcuffed him. Meanwhile, I was nearly taken as I stopped to grab the blankets we had at the umbrella.
Several police were advancing on me, forcing me forward and telling me to move or be arrested. Meanwhile, Sri was shouting for help moving a man who was drunk and asleep and who had a dog with him. We did get him up and out of harm’s way, but fourteen of our people were taken in all, including two who actually had left the scene and crossed the street to avoid arrest, and who were arrested by cops who deliberately broke away and went after them as targets. (Both are African American men who have demonstrated leadership in two different areas of the movement.)
The National Lawyers Guild of San Francisco (NLGSF) opposes the conduct of the Oakland Police Department and has demanded an end to the harassment:
Last night, January 4, 2012, video footage again showed OPD violating its own Crowd Control policy by raiding the Occupy Oakland demonstration at Oscar Grant/ Frank Ogawa Plaza and grabbing select individuals for arrest, without warning and for no apparent reason. OPD has repeatedly targeted well-known Occupy Oakland activists for arrest, mostly without legal grounds or on petty offenses, in an apparent attempt to suppress the Occupy movement’s legitimate First Amendment activity. Over the past three weeks, OPD has repeatedly raided the lawful protest vigil at Oscar Grant Plaza, using selective and bizarre interpretations of city and state ordinances to justify aggressively arresting and jailing the demonstrators. Again and again, the police have charged into crowds of peaceful protesters and grabbed individuals protesters who were doing nothing wrong and posed no threat.
How has Mayor Jean Quan justified the operations of Oakland Police? According to reporter Susie Cagle, Quan is dodging media. Sue Piper, her press aide, sent out an email to Oakland city press contacts that read: “Not quite ready to resume media briefings this week. So just wanted to give you a heads up so you can plan accordingly. We are still catching up after the work furlough during the holidays.” This, as Cagle notes, was “approximately seven hours before several Occupy Oakland-ers were arrested” or the victims of “targeted kidnappings” (as some are referring to it).
Additionally, one person arrested could face a life sentence in jail under California’s “three strikes” law.
On December 16 he was arrested outside City Hall for violating anti-encroachment laws — namely, for a dispute about a blanket — which normally wouldn’t have warranted more than a few hours jail time. Since Khali was in fact violating his probation terms for a different case in Sacramento, he was taken to Santa Rita and made to serve some jail time in lieu of going to trial, his attorney Dan Siegel explained. There, Khali was held in solitary confinement and not given his psychiatric medications, which might explain why he got into an altercation with a peace officer — the exact circumstances of which are still widely disputed. Now, Khali faces a felony assault charge in place of his original misdemeanor. As of Friday, December 23, Khali’s bail was set at $580,000, according his attorney, Dan Siegel.
“So he’s basically arrested for littering, and a week later he’s facing felony charges,” Siegel said, in an interview on December 23. Siegel isn’t representing Khali in the assault case, but he helped persuade a judge to order a medical evaluation of Khali, in the hope that it will explain the altercation. Members of the “Free Khali Committee” at Occupy Oakland claimed that Khali received no evaluation or medication for ten days after his arrest, and that he showed evidence of physical abuse on December 22, when he appeared in court for arraignment on the original misdemeanor (it’s now been dwarfed by the assault case).
For further details on the escalation of police repression, read this update from Occupy Oakland Media.
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