Protester Ends Hunger Strike to Join Court Battles
A press conference will be held today, Wednesday, Dec. 14th, at 5:00 pm, at the Civic Center Plaza by the Occupy San Diego activist who has been on a hunger strike for 36 days.
Occupy protester and hunger strike participant John Kenney, who was arrested earlier this week for “illegal lodging” at the Civic Center, is currently on his 36th day of the hunger strike. It is anticipated that Mr. Kenny, who as a member of the occupy movement in San Diego has been occupying the Civic Center since October 7, 2011, will announce the end of his hunger strike, his food deprivation protest. John is an OBcean and lives less than a block from the ocean.
In a press statement, Mr. Kenney is quoted:
“I went on hunger strike in an attempt to get the City of San Diego, its Mayor, City Council and the San Diego Police Department to recognize our right to occupy at least part of Civic Center, but they won’t even put the issue on the agenda.”
“The time has come for a change of tactics. When I was arrested a few days ago for ‘illegal lodging’ I realized that the city does not care about how many of their citizens they put in jail, or how many millions of tax-payer dollars they waste. So we have to respond accordingly: we have to take our message to the people through direct action, like we did on December 12, 2011 with the Port Authority and we need to use the courts as a tool to protect our free speech rights.”
After several cities throughout the country have adopted resolutions to support Occupations in places like Orange County, CA; Buffalo, NY; and Richmond, VA – Mr. Kenney was hopeful that his effort would not be in vain, however the San Diego Mayor and City Council have refused to allow a place for the people to ccupy in San Diego.
Rebecca Rojas, a local attorney active at Occupy San Diego, also is quoted:
“We have attended City Council non-agenda public comment; we have sent the City Council and the Mayor hundreds of petitions asking for them to find someplace for us to protest in peace, we have made phone calls, and sent emails, but we have received nothing from them but police beatings and mace, millions of tax-dollars wasted, hundreds of peaceful individuals now with criminal records and silent contempt.”
Actually, no OccupySD activists have been convicted of any charges as of yet. Of the over 50 people detained in a mass arrest of occupiers on October 28th, only 3 have been charged. More court dates are coming up for these 3 and others who have been arrested over the course of the last two months. Pro bono attorneys – as part of the legal team for the OccupySD movement – are handling these cases. These lawyers and others from the National Lawyers Guild – including a number of law students – have been active as legal observers and instructors from the beginning of San Diego’s movement.
During the press conference, a number of issues will be addressed by some of the Occupy legal team: Ray Lutz’s arrest for registering voters, multiple illegitimately targeted arrests, plus targeted “illegal lodging” and “encroachment” arrests and charges, and Kenney’s civil suit against the City.
For more details about Wednesday’s press conference please contact Rachel Scoma at 760-271-0579 or at Rachel@canvassforacause.org.