8:30 PM About an hour ago, another major occurrence of police brutality unfolded on another UC campus. This time it was at UC Riverside and, per @eatoncharlie, rubber bullets were fired on activists and arrests were made at “a protest to make banks, millionaires, Regents pay for education.”
6:15 PM Occupy Wall Street is not allowed to hold “Occupy the Courts” rally.
6:00 PM Report on my visit to Occupy Flint, an Occupy encampment I “discovered” on my current tour of occupations.
4:00 PM Occupy Wall Street goes to court to get a permit for an Occupy the Courts protest on the court steps tomorrow. No ruling from the judge yet, but the report from AP suggests they are likely to lose.
3:30 PM Occupy Harlem will be protesting President Obama tonight. Lead organizer Nellie Bailey says the fundraising events he has planned in Harlem show “a profound disconnect the sitting President has with poor and working class Blacks that constitute his core base of support.”
3:25 PM Lot of buzz for Bruce Springsteen’s new album and how it “explores” economic injustice and should resonate with the 99%.
The first single off his album has been shared pretty widely already but if you haven’t heard it, here is “We Take Care of Our Own.”
2:50 PM I visited the Occupy Cleveland tent, the only tent the city will permit Occupy to have. I hung out with the current shift of occupiers in the tent. They are only allowed ten people and rotate people in and out throughout the day and night.
11:50 AM I do a lot of Occupy coverage here at The Dissenter. I also do a lot of coverage of Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks. Here is my interview for “Between the Lines,” a weekly radio newsmagazine. I talk about Manning’s case proceeding to a court-martial and his defense’s strategy. (And here’s a transcript of the interview.)
10:35 AM Occupy Justice: In a mock trial, Occupy London is putting Tony Blair on trial. Right now, he is on trial for war crimes in Iraq – watch. Two more mock trials are to take place Friday and Saturday.
10:33 AM Last night, the episode of Law & Order: SVU that featured a fake Occupy Wall Street aired.
10:31 AM Occupy London will appeal the ruling that determined they had to leave St. Paul’s Cathedral
10:30 AM Allison Kilkenny offers a preview of the upcoming Occupy the Courts action on January 20
10:28 AM Rolling Stone interviews Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen, who was almost killed by police during an Occupy Oakland protest when he was hit in the head by a tear gas canister. Olsen, who suffered brain damage, is interviewed on the day of the Occupy the Ports protest. It was his first protest since being injured.
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner went ahead with the eviction of Occupy Syracuse early in the morning. Melanie Digiglio captured the eviction from Perseverance Park on Ustream.
The police arrived around 3:30 am. Occupy Syracuse was surrounded. “More than 15 police cars” were on the scene as police arrested those “willing to be arrested.” The temperature was about twelve degrees. At least six were arrested
Digiglio was across the street from the site of the occupation when the eviction began. Police would not let here go back into the site to claim her property. According to Digiglio, an “officer brought bundles of personal belongings across Salina Street” to where she was standing.
By 4 am, a “bulldozer” was at the site “to tear down the structures.” Digiglio claimed Mayor Miner had pledged this would not happen. Two dump trucks also showed up to the scene and city workers tore down the encampment.
The last item to be destroyed, at 5:02 a.m., was a bunk that took 1.5 days to be built by hand, Digiglio said. As the bulldozer crushed the wooden structure, the protesters watching from across the street gave a loud groan. “They tried to tear it down by hand and gave up,” Digiglio said.
An ACLU staff person said the “arrestees” were taken to a “public safety building” that holds police and firefighter administrators and processed. They were charged with violating a “city ordinance requiring a permit for erecting a permanent structure.” Such a permit was never required by the board that presides over the park so that would be why the occupiers never went ahead and secured a permit. [h/t Scarecrow]
On their website, Occupy Syracuse noted just before the eviction, at 1:42 am, “Fire officials resumed inspections of Occupy Syracuse every 2 hours. At a 9:00 pm inspection Deputy Fire Chief Stephen Cavuto confirmed that there [was] no immediate safety concern at Occupy Syracuse and no evidence of propane.” Thus,”Miner’s only pretext for eviction” was neutralized.
Miner offered no justification in the hours after Cavuto confirmed there were no safety concerns and before the eviction. She also refused to meet face-to-face with occupiers to try and come to some agreement that would allow the occupation to keep going under some agreement or compromise.
Additionally, in freezing cold weather, the police harassed protesters including senior citizens and “physically impaired” people, who decided to stand their ground and remain in and around the park in chairs. The police enforced a “sit/lie” law that has probably been rarely enforced.
Occupiers immediately put out a call to action for people to demonstrate at City Hall at 3:30 pm.
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I am visiting Occupy Cleveland right now. I will be moving on to Occupy Pittsburgh later this evening.