5:20 PM Chicago City Council passed the protest ordinances Rahm Emanuel proposed for the upcoming NATO/G8 meetings. Occupy Chicago and some from the Coalition Against the NATO/G8 were there in full force protesting all morning as the city council voted.
3:15 PM The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal considers the possible impact of the SOPA blackout and compares it to the impact of Occupy protests thus far.
3:10 PM Worth noting that Occupy Wall Street, not surprisingly, joined the SOPA strike today. If you try to go to their website, this is what appears. The impact SOPA and PIPA could have on citizens or users is explained:
- Force U.S. internet providers to block access to websites deemed as enablers of copyright infringement
- Seek legal action by suing search engines, blog sites, directories, or any site in general to have the black listed sites removed from their website
- Will be able to force advertising services on infringing websites, and those supporting of them, to remove them from their advertising accounts
- Companies will also have the power to sue any new websites that get started after this bill is passed, if they believe that they are not doing a good job of preventing infringement on your website
- The U.S. Attorney General can now seek a court order that would force search engines, advertisers, DNS providers, servers, and payment processors from having any contact with allegedly infringing websites
- It will allow private corporations to create their own personal hit lists composed of websites they feel are breaking their copyright policies, ironically this doesn’t have any odd feelings of a legal mafia at all. These companies will be able to directly contact a website’s payment processors a notice to cut all off payment involvement with the targeted website. This payment processors and website of question will then have five days to act before it is simply taken down.
- Payment processors will have the power to cut off any website they work with, as long as they can provide a strong reason of why they believe this site is violating copyrights
2:00 PM I just had a wonderful experience in Detroit. I was eating with a couple organizers from Occupy Detroit when one of them, Kevin, had me put my stuff in his car and hop in for a tour. He showed me where they occupied, where their first big march happened, where they first gathered for their General Assemblies before taking Grand Circus Park, etc. I was shown property donated to them that they’ve fixed up. And I was introduced to a great person named Clayton who had done security for the camp. He is one of a few homeless people that stayed up in the park at night to keep watch while occupiers were sleeping.
A full report to come soon.
10:48 PM Ustream is down. Following the @Occupy_Syracuse twitter feed:
9:56: It appears the mayor may be willing to meet with the occupiers after all. Several of them leave to go meet with her.
9:30 AM Even though the fire and police trucks were there at 8 am, they have still not been evicted. The courts are now open, giving the ACLU attorney a chance to file an injunction.
8:51 AM A group is headed to Mayor Miner’s office. Chanting “This is what democracy looks like!” and other known chants of the Occupy movement.
8:45 AM Spur of the moment: seems like Occupy Syracuse is trying to plan some kind of action to go confront Mayor Miner right now. Some are staying behind at the camp, some will go to her office.
8:30 AM Syracuse occupier reads statement from her where she said occupiers have been respectful, peaceful and nonviolent. The occupier then asks Mayor Miner why she hasn’t sat down and been respectful and had a meeting with occupiers so they can understand the rules and continue to stay in the park.
8:06 AM Police, fire trucks and ambulances have arrived at Occupy Syracuse. Looks like there may be fifty or so people who are milling about the site of the occupation. A handful are sitting and standing around some tents. A banner that says “Occupy Syracuse” is being held up in front of one of the tents.
Occupy Syracuse is facing what they call a “surprise eviction” after Mayor Stephanie Miner visited them in the morning yesterday to warn them verbally that they had twenty four hours to leave Perseverance Park, where they have been occupying for more than one hundred days. [Watch the livestream here.]
Ryan O’Hara for the occupation described the city’s justification for the eviction:
Citing unsafe propane usage as a pretext, Miner has ordered the camp to be dismantled. However, the city has provided Occupy Syracuse with unclear guidelines relating to propane usage which were were subsequently changed. On January 8, a fire department official visited Occupy Syracuse, inspected camp and requested the occupiers install more carbon monoxied detectors. This was complied with immediately. In subsequent visits the requests repeatedly changed, from no cooking to no heat at all. Again, these requests were complied with. At no time were electric heaters in use at Occupy Syracuse.
Beginning this weekend, Occupy Syracuse made attempts to get the necessary permits to utilize propane safely. Although a permit for propane usage at Occupy Syracuse has been accepted by the Fire Prevention office, Fire Chief Mark McLees has repeatedly refused to meet with anyone from Occupy Syracuse to discuss the shutdown. Indeed, only 15 minutes before the Mayor unexpectedly arrived at camp, occupiers were discussing heating options with Deputy Chief Stephen Cavuto. The mayor has also refused all dialog on the impending camp shutdown.
Firedoglake’s Jane Hamsher noted yesterday, “The Mayor’s office [was] telling callers the occupation has been ‘caught five times’ breaking the “agreement” regarding propane heaters, but they can’t seem to produce any written citation to that effect, which the ACLU lawyer is asking to see. If Mayor Miner thinks it’s a ‘serious problem’ now, why did the city just blow it off at the time? Is that her typical response to five separate incidents of what she now considers a critical health problem for the city?”
Though the ACLU came out in opposition, unfortunately the ACLU conceded the occupiers might not have the right to “camp out 24/7″ in the park. If the occupiers were allowed to stay for one hundred days, what is in place to prevent them from being there one hundred more days? And plus, what about the work the ACLU did in Boston for occupiers in Dewey Square? Legal representation successfully convinced a judge that what was happening with Occupy Boston was not just “camping” but rather an “expressive” and “symbolic protest.” The judge found that the act of being there 24/7 was part of the protest and necessary to the message of the demonstration.
What is the difference between occupiers in Perseverance Park and occupiers who were in Dewey Square in Boston?
Whatever the legality of the occupation, the occupiers have been exercising their First Amendment rights to call attention to the need to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. They have celebrated the cause of human rights through actions on International Human Rights Day. They have challenged proposed property tax exemptions for industrial developers in Syracuse. And, they challenged rampant consumerism in America on Black Friday (six Occupy Syracuse participants were arrested).
Now, just before 8 am here is the livestream from Occupy Syracuse. A number plan to be arrested if the city does in fact come in at 8 am and try to remove the occupation from the park.
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I am going to be in Detroit, MI, meeting with Occupy Detroit organizers at 11:30 am at the Anchor Bar. Following that, I will be boarding a bus to Occupy Cleveland. I will spend Thursday covering Cleveland and then later in the evening I will board a bus for Occupy Pittsburgh.
Yesterday, I visited Occupy Flint. Stay tuned for photos and a report on the visit.