The biggest story of the week is the number of arrests made at Occupy encampments large and small across the whole country and the late night/early morning police raids that have generated so many of those arrests.
The most gripping example was the early morning dismantling of Occupy Oakland by police with riot gear. The whole world was watching as Iraq War Vet for Peace Scott Olsen was dragged to safety at a protest later that day after being left bloodied and prostrate on the ground by a police projectile. The image of someone in a wheel chair maneuvering through a cloud of smoke and tear gas was no less gut wrenching. Mayor Jean Quan decides to make nice with the occupiers the following day.
Arrests were also made in Atlanta, Nashville and of course here in San Diego. Atlanta Occupiers moved at one point to federal land where Atlanta police have no jurisdiction; a judge in Nashville refuses for the second time to recognize a curfew on the public plaza and occupiers are released. Tucson has had the highest proportion of arrests and needs our help.
Denver Occupiers were told by police that they could not set up tents and were left to huddle under tarps in freezing rain, anticipating up to 10 inches of snow. Two people ended up with hypothermia. Winter weather will be a grim test of the occupiers’ resolve and resiliency. It will also determine to what degree mayors are hoping that the enforcement of curfews, permits and city ordinances under such terrible conditions will ultimately put an end to the movement.
This was also a week of focused actions. OWS in New York delivered thousands of emails to banks via red balloons and paper airplanes; Irvine Occupy gave testimony in a 5 hour long city council meeting and walked out with a resolution in support of their presence; Occupy San Diego gave stirring testimonyat council but without a resolution forthcoming.
And yes, the whole world is watching. One of the most amazing sights was the demonstration in Tahrir Square in support of Occupy Oakland.
Not only is the whole world watching, it is also participating. Occupiers in London, outside of St. Paul’s Church have pushed back against attempts to disperse them. There was a huge march in Melbourne.
This week I watched videos from small occupy efforts in areas outside of the large urban centers. Occupy Youngstown and Occupy Coachella Valley may be taking place under the national radar, but their efforts are truly noteworthy as the occupy movement continues to find resonance within the 99%, no matter where we live.
This week’s take away—arrests and dispersion of occupiers are being met with not only local resistance but national and even international pressure on police and mayors. THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING!