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By • Feb 9th, 2012 • Category: News & Analysis

#Occupied: Reports From the Front Lines

by Jennifer Sacks on Feb 6, 2012

A sea of demonstrators awaits the news that the Indiana state senate has voted the Rust Belt’s first right-to-work legislation into law, February 1, 2012.
This week in Occupy, the fallout from #J28 continued, Chicago and Charlotte enacted legislation in an attempt to stave off the wave of occupiers expected there this summer, and some occupations were forced to regroup after a number of prominent encampments were routed.
Image: National Right to Work Foundation

#Indiana became the first state in the Rust Belt and the 23rd state overall to enact a union-busting right-to-work law, which prohibits employment contracts requiring all workers to pay mandatory union dues, essentially starving unions of funding. Union members shouted “Shame on you!” and “See you at the Super Bowl!” at the statehouse in Indianapolis when the 28-22 vote was announced, referring to the fortuitously-timed  Super Bowl XVI, set to take place in Indianapolis that weekend.

#Ahead of the game, it emerged that several NFL players had lobbied Indiana lawmakers against the legislation by sending letters to the statehouse before the vote, including Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears (who hails from Santa Claus, Ind.), Rex Grossman of the Washington Redskins (from Bloomington, Ind.), New Orleans’ Courtney Roby, Pittsburgh’s Trai Essex, St. Louis’ Mark Clayton and San Diego’s Kris Dielman.

#To protest the law, demonstrators marched through packed crowds in downtown Indianapolis in the week before the Super Bowl.

#Elsewhere in Indiana, the Republican secretary of state was found guilty of voter fraud, something his fellow Republicans like to legislate against.

This is what it looks like when police hit you with a rubber bullet. Oakland, January 28.

#The fallout from #J28 continued to reverberate, as video has emerged proving the Oakland police department – which may soon be placed into federal control for failing to expel its violent elements – has been blatantly lying about its treatment of activists during demonstrations.

#The mainstream media is now portraying the movement as split over tactics and conflicted about the role of black bloc affinity groups in direct actions.  While these issues – like every other issue – are continually  debated within the movement, portrayals of Occupy as divisible were met with widespread backlash.

#It emerged that Occupy Oakland activists were being held in inhumane conditions at the Santa Rita and Glenn Dyer jails. This echoes reports of Occupy LA activists being denied food and water following their arrests in December.

#The Chicago City Council overwhelmingly approved measures to tighten parade rules, increase fines, keep public parks and beaches closed an extra two hours a day and give mayor Rahm Emanuel blanket spending authority ahead of the G8 and NATO summits, which will occur there May 19-21 and likely draw tens of thousands of demonstrators.

#The city council in Charlotte, N.C., which will host the Democratic National Convention in August, voted 10-1 to approve new ordinances giving police more power to stop and frisk people during the convention and prohibit camping on public property, ordinances aimed directly at the Occupy movement. In opposition to the bill’s ratification, 50 Occupy activists packed the City Hall chambers and broke out into chants of “Shame! Shame! Shame!” prompting Mayor Anthony Foxx and several council members to retreat into another room. The protesters marched out of the meeting, victorious, and convened in the lobby, still chanting loudly.

Occupy DC demonstrators denounce their impending eviction. Photo: Pan-African News Wire

#Under threat of a January 30 eviction deadline, Occupy DC refused to vacate its McPherson Square encampment. With two days to go, occupiers demonstrated outside the 99th annual Alfalfa Club dinner thrown for high-level dignitaries, including President Obama. Twenty-four hours after the deadline passed, a federal judge ruled that the police had to give the encampment prior notice before an eviction is attempted. Though police publicly stated that they had no plans to evict anyone, on February 4 they entered the square in riot gear – without prior notice – and randomly searched and dismantled tents before confiscating possessions and dispersing the camp.

#A planned class action lawsuit is moving forward, which will include members of the occupation who “own or possess tents in McPherson Square which have been or will be taken and/or destroyed” by the National Park Service.

#Occupy Austin also got evicted. In the fracas, 58-year-old Claire Hirschkind suffered a seizure and was forced to the ground by police, who denied her immediate medical care.

#In Kentucky, Occupy Lexington was also routed, but they’ve already planned their comeback.

#After members of Occupy Miami formed a human chain to prevent eviction, the camp was cleared and a livestreamer was attacked by police. Nevertheless, occupiers declared that the eviction only made them stronger.

#In Maine, Occupy Portland is peacefully dismantling its camp after the city imposed an eviction deadline, which was extended until Friday.

Members of Occupy London beam a message to across-the-street neighbor UBS. Photo: Andy Roberts

#For more than two months before their peaceful eviction on Jan. 25, members of Occupy London had lived and worked in a vacant building across from banking giant UBS’s London headquarters, where they suspended banners from the windows that read “UBS You Owe Us” and “You Can’t Evict An Idea.” That is until Monday, when they were evicted from the abandoned building, which was also owned by UBS. They then briefly occupied a defunct branch of the Iraqi Rafidain Bank in the main financial district.

#Occupy Boulder is using the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search in the cases of protesters arrested for violating the city’s anti-camping ordinance.

#In an unusual move, Hamilton County, Tennessee, sued the protesters of Occupy Chattanooga in U.S. District Court, asking for a declaration that new rules governing public use of county land are compatible with the First Amendment and can be applied to protesters who’ve been on the lawn since November. Attorneys representing the occupiers have lodged a motion to dismiss.

#The NYPD, which routinely arrests unarmed protesters, livestreamers and journalists, had a bad week, killing three suspects, all men of color, two of whom were unarmed. Ramarley Graham, 18, was shot in the chest while standing in his own bathroom.

#Through a Freedom of Information Act request, Gay City News uncovered evidence that the NYPD’s counterterrorism division is considering the deployment of surveillance drones over New York City.

A hospital in northern Greece is now controlled by its workers.

#The general hospital of Kilkis, in northern Greece, is now under workers’ control after the doctors, nurses and other staff found that the long-lasting problems of the government’s National Health System could not be resolved.

#Occupy encampments in Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and Miami have quietly shifted their focus to occupying foreclosures after last month’s successful repossession of Marie and Jean Bien-Amie’s Coconut Creek home from Wells Fargo, one of the Big Three banks, which halted its eviction plans after a demonstration was staged and the news media was alerted.

#The Berkeley City Council is considering a proposal to move the city’s assets out of Wells Fargo. If approved, it would transfer $300 million out of the bank, making it one of the first cities in the Bay Area to move its money.
#Corporate tax receipts as a share of profits are at their lowest level in 40 years. Total corporate federal taxes paid fell to 12.1% in fiscal 2011, the lowest level since at least 1972 and well below the 25.6% companies paid on average from 1987 to 2008.
#Occupy Redlands in southern California demonstrated on Saturday against a possible war with Iran.
An Occupy Redlands protester stands firm against war with Iran, an option President Obama will not take off the table. Photo: Loma Linda Patch

#On Saturday, the 7th Inter-Occupational Summit Assembly will be held in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to unite regional occupations. A march will also be staged protesting war with Iran.

#Strikes by trade unions in Belgium disrupted travel Monday as European leaders gathered in Brussels for an informal summit.

#Anti-Vladimir Putin protesters gathered in the center of Moscow on Saturday, undeterred by the arctic cold, to protest Putin’s near-certain presidential win next month. “It’s clear nothing will change, but at least we can demonstrate—six months ago nobody could have imagined it in Moscow,” said Marina V. Segupova, 28, told the New York Times.

#Ahmed Maher, a prominent activist and co-founder of Egypt’s April 6 Youth Movement, suffered a concussion and head injury on Saturday as he attempted to break up clashes between police and protesters in Cairo.

David and Charles Koch, the überwealthy right-wing industrialists who recently pledged $100 million to elect a Republican president.

#Occupy Koch Town, a demonstration organized in Koch Industries’ hometown and headquarters by Occupy Wichita, kicks off on February 17.

#Activists are gearing up for #F29′s leap day Shut Down the Corporations national action. Thirty cities have signed up so far.

#The Occupy Caravan kicks off in Los Angeles on April 2 and will travel east across the country. The Occupy Wall Street bus is already weaving its way around the east coast.

#Roosevelt University in Chicago is offering a three-credit class on the Occupy movement, joining NYU and Columbia University.

#The Occupy movement in Wisconsin, now a year old, is continuing to fight the 1% statewide in a creative series of protests, forums and foreclosure defenses, and by building a statewide and regional network.

A young protester in Homs, Syria, pleads for help.

#Occupy Fairbanks will not be moved, not even in the sub-zero weather.

#The hacker collective Anonymous redesigned the Boston Police Department’s website on Friday in retaliation for the December 10 raid on Occupy Boston‘s Dewey Square encampment.

#To protest Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s arrival in New York for medical treatment,  demonstrators gathered – and at least one threw a shoe – outside a hotel on Central Park South. During the Arab Spring uprisings, many Yemenis protesting Mr. Saleh’s rule were killed, injured or imprisoned.

#On a day when 200 protesters were killed by forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, China and Russia vetoed a security council resolution that would have backed an Arab plan urging al-Assad to give up power.


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