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#OccupyWallStreet | Activist News | Page 2

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Category Archives: #OccupyWallStreet

As Occupy Arrestees Arraigned, Iris Scans Affect Bail

Village Voice
Mar. 19, 2012
By Nick Pinto 

The first of the more than 70 Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested Saturday afternoon and evening were arraigned yesterday in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Exhausted by a night and day in jail and shaken by the violence of the police response to Occupy Wall Street’s six-month anniversary celebration, many burst into tears of relief when they were finally released to the friendly welcome of the movement’s Jail Support team.

Unlike many of the other defendants with whom they shared cells, the protesters could feel confident that they would soon be released — Occupy posts bail for those arrested during movement actions.

But protesters and their legal advisers were surprised yesterday to learn that the size of their bail was being affected by whether defendants were willing to have the distinctive patterns of their irises photographed and logged into a database.

Police and courts have been photographing irises since 2010, once at booking and once on arraignment. The practice is a response to a couple of instances in which mistaken identity allowed someone facing serious charges to go free by impersonating another defendant up on minor charges.

The idea of the state collecting distinctive biometric information from people who haven’t even been charged with a crime yet, much less convicted of one, makes civil libertarians nervous, though, and over the last two years they’ve pushed back. Unlike fingerprints, they argue, no law was ever passed to require iris photographs — it’s just a policy. And while police regularly tell arrestees that the photographs are mandatory, and that failing to be photographed will prolong their stay in jail, defendants have often refused to comply without serious consequence.

Full Article Here – http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/03/as_occupy_arres.php

Occupy Wall Street urges May 1 strike over arrests

Associated Press
Mar. 19, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — Occupy Wall Street activists on Monday called for supporters to skip work on May 1 to protest what they’re calling police brutality during 73 arrests in New York during the weekend.
Several dozen activists joined members of New York’s City Council for a news conference in Zuccotti Park to complain about police tactics. On Saturday, police started detaining people after hundreds of Occupy supporters gathered in the park to mark six months since the start of the movement.
Occupy organizers across the country have been mobilizing for months toward a one-day general strike in May.

They’re encouraging people to stay out of work and school, and to refrain from spending money. In New York, a coalition of unions and worker justice groups are planning a solidarity march through the city.
Council members at Monday’s news conference included Ydanis Rodriguez, a Manhattan Democrat who denounced police actions, while proposing that the council create a “Protester’s Bill of Rights” to establish basic rights.
“I am here today because Saturday night I saw the New York Police Department using brutal, excessive force arresting people who were protesting peacefully,” Rodriguez told the news conference. “We are calling on Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly to fight for our constitutional rights as hard as they fight terrorism.”
Bloomberg countered that members of the NYPD were respectful of protesters’ rights.
“This police department knows how to control crowds without excessive force,” the mayor said. “They do allow you to protest but they don’t let it get out of hand.”
He said police have put up barricades around the park again because protesters were breaking park rules against setting up tents in the privately owned public space.
But Liesbeth Rapp, a 27-year-old activist who was there Saturday, said police “charged” protesters and forced them in groups onto nearby sidewalks.

Full Article Here – http://news.yahoo.com/occupy-wall-street-urges-may-1-strike-over-195242003.html

NYPD marks OWS anniversary with violent crackdown, mass arrests (Photos)

RT News
Mar. 18, 2012

Dozens of OWS protesters are being brutally arrested at Zuccotti Park in Manhattan, according to unconfirmed reports. Police are said to be pushing journalists and activists alike, telling everyone present to leave or face arrest.

Dozens of police have swept through the downtown Manhattan park, removing Occupy Wall Street demonstrators who were celebrating the movement’s six-month anniversary.

A spokesperson for Occupy Wall Street has estimated that dozens of protesters were arrested.

The NYPD reportedly tore down newly-placed tents in the park on Saturday night. They also allegedly shut down vendors around the park as they assaulted peaceful protesters inside.

The police are said to be obstructing members of the press from entering the square “for safety reasons.”

The NYPD has reportedly erected barricades around Liberty Square in violation of a court order.
They have been using public buses to transport the arrested.

Activists on twitter claim the NYPD refused to let two medics through to help a girl having a seizure.

Full Article Here – http://rt.com/news/protesters-liberty-square-reports-837/

Facing Global Protest, G8 Retreats

Mar. 6, 2012

The Group of 8 Summit, a meeting of the governments of the world’s eight largest economies, was supposed to convene in Chicago this May. For months, Occupy Chicago, international anti-war groups, Anonymous, and hundreds of allies have publicly planned to shut it down. Now, only two months before the meeting is scheduled to begin, U.S. President Barack Obama is moving the assembly of over 7,000 leaders from the world’s wealthiest governments to the Camp David presidential compound, located in rural Maryland near Washington, DC, one of the most secure facilities in the world. The Chicago Tribune reports that summit organizers are “stunned” by the news.

Occupiers and allies celebrated the decision with a victory party last night. The Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda (CANG8) and Occupy Chicago issued the following statement:

The G8 moving to Camp David represents a major victory for the people of Chicago. The leaders of the 1% are moving because of the overwhelming resistance to the NATO/G8 war and poverty agenda in Chicago. Our city is filled with tens of thousands of people who are struggling to keep their heads above water, fighting against the effects of the economic crisis caused by the leaders who would have been gathering here. The communities of Chicago are fighting to save their schools, keep healthcare available, and to defend their jobs from cutbacks that are a hallmark of the governments of the G8.

The city has carried out a campaign to intimidate and vilify protesters, claiming that protests lead to violence. In fact, the main source of violence in the world today is the wars being waged by NATO and the US. “We will march on May 19th to deliver our message: Jobs, Housing, Healthcare, Education, Our Pensions, the Environment: Not War! We and tens of thousands will be in the streets that day for a family friendly rally and march, with cries so loud they will be heard in Camp David and across the globe. We will be in the streets that day to fight for our future, and speak out against the wars and their cutbacks are designed to benefit the 1% at the expense of the 99% of the world.”

Full Article Here – http://occupywallst.org/article/facing-mass-protest-obama-hides-g8-camp-david/

Anti-Wall Street protesters rally against prison conditions

Feb. 20, 2012
By Laird Harrison

(Reuters) – Hundreds of anti-Wall Street demonstrators and prison reform activists joined forces outside the gates of a prison in San Quentin, California on Monday to protest high incarceration rates and harsh living conditions.

Speakers rallying at the San Quentin State Prison said the state’s sentencing laws are too strict. They called for an end to solitary confinement and the death penalty and said children should not be tried as adults.

“I myself experienced more than 14 months of solitary confinement,” said Sarah Shourd, 33, an American who was imprisoned in Iran after being arrested while hiking near the Iraq border in 2009.

“And after only two months my mind began to slip,” she said.

She was joined at the peaceful protest by Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, who spent more than two years in prison in Iran after being arrested with Shourd, and by former Black Panthers who spoke of a history of problems at the San Quentin prison.

The prison is California’s oldest correctional facility and houses the state’s only gas chamber and all male inmates on death row, according to the state’s prison website.

Activist Barbara Becnel said prisoners were drawing inspiration from the Occupy movement, which spread throughout the nation last fall with calls for greater economic equality. The movement has lost some ground as many U.S. cities evicted protesters from their tent camps.

“We have merged the prison rights movement with the Occupy movement,” Becnel said, quoting a message she said came from San Quentin death row prisoner Kevin Cooper. “The 99 percent has to be concerned about the bottom 1 percent.”

Marin County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Keith Boyd estimated the crowd numbered 600 to 700 people at its height.

Demonstrators held a moment of silence for Christian Alexander Gomez, 27, who died February 2 while on a hunger strike in California’s Corcoran State Prison.

Gomez was among thousands of California prisoners who have staged hunger strikes in waves since July, starting with protests against isolation units at Pelican Bay State Prison and rippling throughout the rest of the state corrections system.

The strikes began after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in May that California prison overcrowding was causing “needless suffering and death” and ordered the state to reduce the number of prisoners to 110,000, still well over the maximum capacity, from 140,000.

Watched over by at least a dozen heavily armed prison guards, former prisoners on Monday told stories of their incarceration and sang Native American and civil rights protest songs during the hours-long demonstration.  

Full Article Here -http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/21/us-california-prison-protest-idUSTRE81K01U20120221                         

Two Occupy Wall St. protesters sue the cop who pepper-sprayed them

New York Daily News
Feb. 13, 2012
By Robert Gearty

A high-ranking cop who pepper-sprayed penned-in Occupy Wall Street protesters has been zapped with a lawsuit by two women who were in the line of fire.

Chelsea Elliott and Jeanne Mansfield are suing Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna in Manhattan Federal Court for blasting them in the face with pepper-spray during a protest last Sept. 24 near Union Square.

The incident was caught on video, and 1.5 million people watched it on YouTube, prompting outrage and drawing attention to the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Bologna was docked 10 days of vacation for violating NYPD regulations.

In an interview Monday, Mansfield, 24, a Boston writer, said she was suing because she wanted to put the NYPD on notice that what Bologna did was wrong.

“I was attending a peaceful demonstration when I was met with what I feel was an undue amount of force,” she said.

Mansfield said she is sympathetic to police in general but said she didn’t deserve to be pepper-sprayed.

“I think he allowed his emotions to get the best of him,” she said of Bologna.

Occupy Wall Street Claims the City Ruined Its Library

New York Times
Feb. 9, 2012

A member of the Occupy Wall Street movement filed a claim on behalf of the group Thursday that the city had damaged or destroyed $47,000 worth of books and other property while clearing its protest site at Zuccotti Park last fall. The notice of claim, filed with the comptroller’s office, is a preliminary step toward lodging a civil lawsuit.

When the Occupy Wall Street encampment was evicted from the park on Nov. 15, police officers and sanitation workers dismantled and removed belongings and furnishings that had been kept in the park, tossing them onto sidewalks, into metal containers and into a dump truck. Many of those items ended up at a Sanitation Department facility in Midtown, where they were made available for pickup by their owners, some of whom found them damaged beyond repair. Other property, some of the Occupy protesters say, never resurfaced.

The lawyers who filed the claim, Alan Levine, Michael L. Spiegel and the law firm Siegel Teitelbaum & Evans, wrote that the city “unreasonably seized and took possession” of about 3,600 books, four computers, WiFi equipment, shelves, wooden chairs and the large tent that covered the area that the protesters called the People’s Library. The man who is named in the claim, Peter Dutro, is described in the notice as the “de facto treasurer” of the group.

When the librarians went to the sanitation facility, the claim said, only 1,003 of their books could be found and 201 of them were so damaged as to be unusable. The four computers were also damaged beyond repair, the claim said, and protesters said at the time that hard drives were missing from those machines that were retrieved and that the casings of the computers had been twisted and bent.

Full Article Here – http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/09/occupy-wall-street-charges-city-ruined-its-library/ 

Occupy evictions include Pittsburgh, Miami and Portland, Maine

Associated Press
Feb. 7, 2012
By David Sharp

A tent city that’s among the longest-lived Occupy protest encampments is coming down as part of a new wave of eviction orders against demonstrators aligned with the movement in communities including Miami, Washington and Pittsburgh.

Occupy Maine demonstrators removed several large tents over the weekend, and the city on Monday gave them additional time to remove the rest.

Demonstrators who established the encampment just two weeks after the Occupy Wall Street encampment set up shop in New York City vowed to continue their work to call attention to corporate excess and economic inequality.

“Just because the occupation is changing form doesn’t mean it’s going away,” Heather Curtis, one of the campers, said Monday before she started hauling away her belongings from snow-covered Lincoln Park.

The encampments that were the heart of the movement are becoming scarcer. On Monday, a judge issued what appeared to be the final notice for Occupy Pittsburgh to leave. Over the past week, police began removing demonstrators in Miami; Austin, Texas; and Washington, D.C.

The voices are still making themselves heard, though.

On Monday, about 20 demonstrators disrupted a legislative budget hearing in Albany, N.Y., shouting that millionaires should be taxed more. Albany’s camp was busted up in December.

Occupy Maine, which already has office space elsewhere in Portland, plans to continue getting its message out through other means, as well.

Full Article Here – http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Latest-News-Wires/2012/0207/Occupy-evictions-include-Pittsburgh-Miami-and-Portland-Maine 

Occupy Wall Street puts its hopes in spring rebirth

Jan. 21, 2012
By Brigitte Dusseau

Two months after being ejected from their campsite in New York‘s financial district, the founders of Occupy Wall Street hope the arrival of spring will breathe new life into a flagging campaign.
On Thursday, barely 20 people attended the daily General Assembly meeting at Zuccotti Park, the square where the OWS movement was born in September last year and which, despite the camp’s eviction, remains a rallying point.
The sparse gathering in freezing temperatures was a far cry from the loud throngs who used to congregate to denounce what they see as systemic unfairness in the US economy — a cry that sparked copycat demonstrations nationwide.
Zuccotti Park, once crammed with tents, was almost deserted. Two police officers and three private security guards stood watch.
“You remember when the world was watching us?” one protester asked his neighbor as the General Assembly got under way with exercises to combat the cold. “It seems it’s only us watching us now.”
Sean McKeown, a chemist involved with OWS since October, said there were never more than 50 people attending since winter started.
“We’re not doing as much as we were and there is not much money,” he said. “It’s cold.”
McKeown was one of those who voted last week to freeze nearly all of OWS’ spending so funds could be preserved for when they become most needed.
From a war chest of about $730,000, all donated, there is now $270,000, McKeown said. Of this, $100,000 is set aside as a fund for meeting bail if protesters are arrested.
Money questions are sensitive. Some activists fear there will be an end to funding for the approximately 130 supporters being sheltered by two New York churches. Others, however, oppose that OWS should provide funding for sister Occupy protests across the United States.
“Money is a very useful resource but not everything,” Bill Dobbs, a spokesman, said, insisting that the movement is very much alive.

Full Article Here – http://news.yahoo.com/occupy-wall-street-puts-hopes-spring-rebirth-201802705.html 

Barricades at NYC’s former Occupy camp are removed

Associated Press
Jan. 10, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — Barricades surrounding a park that served as a camp for Occupy Wall Street protesters were removed Tuesday, allowing protesters to stream back in.

The atmosphere was celebratory but calm on Tuesday evening as about 300 protesters began filling New York City’s Zuccotti Park a couple of hours after the barricades were taken down and a day after a complaint about the barricades was filed with the city. Protesters milled around, eating lasagna on paper plates and playing chess.

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Security guards who were previously guarding the barricades stood off to the side, along with a handful of police officers. It was a minor victory for the protesters, who have complained about financial inequality in demonstrations that gained traction across the globe.

“Word spread pretty quickly, and we ran down here,” demonstrator Lauren DiGioia said. “It’s hard to remember what it was like before the barricades were put up.”

Police spokesman Paul Browne said the NYPD and Brookfield Office Properties, the park’s owner, had been talking about removing the barriers last week. The decision was made to remove them Tuesday because officials felt they were no longer necessary, Browne said.

Brookfield spokeswoman Melissa Coley confirmed in an email that the barricades were taken down but declined to comment further. A Brookfield employee who refused to give his name told an Associated Press reporter: “The barriers are down, but the other rules are the same.”

Some Occupy protesters planned to stay overnight, DiGioia said, but it was unclear whether they planned to use tents or sleeping bags, which have been banned from the lower Manhattan park since an early morning police raid evicted protesters Nov. 15.

One security guard told a group of protesters: “No sleeping bags allowed, either, OK, folks?”

Full Article Here – http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gHF96-LL4derceiCmrj-usa9Ud1w?docId=be03627ed4ae4dbb9c3d0df4c35f7199