Despite not having a space to sleep in, November 17th, the National Day of Action, still found Occupy San Diego very busy.
Temporary Tents at the Federal Building
Organizers with OSD joined the San Diego Labor Council, SEIU and its Justice for Janitor project, and immigrant rights activists in a rally and march to the Federal Building on Front Street. Demonstrators set up several tents – although temporarily – on a grassy stretch near the doors to the building. Homeland Security agents later came by and ordered the tents removed – which they were.
Occupiers Maintain Vigil at Civic Center Plaza
After OccupySD demonstrators were ousted from the area next to the Civic Theater during the early morning raid by police – with 9 arrests and two citations – they came back to the Civic Center Plaza just hours later that day. That night there was a march of nearly one hundred to the Police headquarters at 14th and Broadway where a short GA session was held. Protesters then returned to the Plaza to continue the meeting.
The general attitude is to continue to vigil – even despite the ban on sleeping or belongings – at the Plaza. One long-time Occupy activist, Julie M., plans to stay awake as long as she can while at the Plaza, with the expectation she’ll be up for a couple of days. A number of others have vowed to stick it out with her. Others pledge just to spend one night awake. Last night, Thursday, there was a fairly good sized crowd for the General Assembly. This means, the occupation continues.
350 Rally at Bridge Blockade: Occupy San Diego, Labor and MoveOn and Supporters Temporarily Block Clairemont Drive Bridge
Several hundred San Diegans rallied atop the Clairemont Drive bridge over I-5 in a protest of an infrastructure that needs fixing and a Congress that does nothing to create jobs. The joint action for San Diego on the National Day of Action was organized by the Labor Council, local MoveOn groups, and OccupySD. One side of Clairemont Drive over the bridge was blocked by the demonstrators for up towards an hour and half, although the plans for the blockage had been worked out with police beforehand. The OB Rag reported 350 participants.
Panel On Media Coverage of the Occupy Wall Street Movement Sparks Needed Debate
An hour was not long enough, but it was a beginning at least. In a standing-room only meeting hall just yards away from an OccupySD gathering, the local San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists sponsored a panel discussion of media coverage of the Occupy movement. Moderated by San Diego U-T reporter Matthew Hall (who did a great piece on portraying local occupiers) , the panel included: Samuel Hodgson, Voice of San Diego photojournalist; Carlos R. Davalos, The (Chula Vista) Star-News executive editor; Frank Gormlie, occupier and editor of the OB Rag; Lorena Gonzalez, occupier and secretary-treasurer of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council; Mike Garcia; occupier who is serving as one of the movement’s city liaison.
Discussion sparked by the panelists and their interaction with people who attended showed that there is a need for a San Diego town hall meeting on issues such as freedom of press, assembly and of speech.
Bankers and Occupiers at Reinvestment Task Force
About 15 people from Occupy San Diego attended a meeting of the Reinvestment Task Force, which included representatives of the banking industry, members of the public, and OB Ragster Anna Daniels. Chaired by City Council president Tony Young, the Task Force unsuccessfully fielded questions from the public such as: Why are there no credit unions or community banks represented at the meeting? Why are the agendas and minutes not available on the web site? Can money be redirected from the wall-street banks to local credit unions and community banks?
Protesters Have Found the Tent San Diego Police Can Live With
OccupySD activists have found a tent that the San Diego Police can live with. (See photo above.) This just proves that despite everything else, occupiers still have a great sense of humor.
The LGBT activist group, Canvass for a Cause (CFAC), announced they are organizing a grass-roots campaign to help the Occupy San Diego movement. With door-to-door canvassing and street outreach, the San Diego-based activist group is seeking to build support for the Occupy movement. Canvas for a cause will be training occupiers at an event scheduled for Nov. 19 at the Civic Center plaza, downtown. Called “Knock 4 an Occupation,” the training session starts at 10 a.m. “It is an incredibly powerful tool,” said Executive Director of CFAC Tres Watson of the group’s methods. “With an issue like Occupy, where most people don’t know what it is or don’t feel as strongly about it as gay marriage, I think we will see a lot of community support and involvement,” he said.
Hearing for Injunction Against City and Police on Nov. 22nd
Eugene Davidovich, a local occupier, is the lead plaintiff in Occupy San Diego’s application for an injunction against the City of San Diego and SDPD. On Nov. 16, lawyers representing Occupy San Diego protesters filed an application in Federal Court seeking the court to issue a temporary restraining order against the city and police. “The First Amendment guarantees the right to free speech and the right to peacefully assemble,” said Bryan Pease, a free speech attorney in a press release. “How it is being enforced by the SDPD is unconstitutional,” Pease said. The hearing on the app for the Federal TRO is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 22nd, in Federal Court.