By Eugene Davidovich
After a busy morning, participants in the Occupy San Diego InterOccupy Conference arrived at Children’s Park. News reporters from CW6, as well as other local media outlets, converged in anticipation of the protesters’ arrival and a planned action to take place at the San Diego Convention Center.
Frank Gromlie of Save The Bill of Rights group and Occupy San Diego took the bullhorn and spoke about the dangers of the National Defense Authorization Act recently passed Congress and signed into law by the president.
He explained the government can now indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without trial, judge or jury for simply being dissenters. He went on to talk about how the bill limits U.S. citizen’s rights to a fair trial, free speech, and pointed out that both the Democratic and Republican party failed their constituents by allowing such a draconian measure to pass.
“This act, guts the Bill of Rights as well as the first, sixth, and eighth amendment of the Constitution.” Gromlie said. “Local politicians all voted for this bill, we now have an emergency in this country and this act must be repealed!” The crowds cheered in agreement.
By this time, the crowd at the park had grown from the original 50 to more than 100 people ready to take action and make their voices heard.
The march began with another zig-zag maneuver through the Gaslamp quarter in downtown San Diego after which the crowd began headed toward the Convention Center where the Democratic Party was holding their state convention.
The protesters slowly marched down Harbor Dr. directly across the street from the Convention Center holding a giant 4′ x 30′ banner that said “Restore the Bill of Rights, Repeal NDAA” and were heard chanting, “NDAA, took our civil rights away,” as well as, “when public services are under attack, we get no help from the Democrats.”
Attendees at the California Democratic Party Convention looked in surprise as the protesters poured into the convention center. Security and the San Diego Police Department scrambled as many officers as they could to converge onto the entrance of exhibit Hall C where the majority of the convention events were taking place.
Across the street from the center, protesters were joined by a bus load from Occupy Los Angeles. The groups merged into one with cheers of solidarity, slowly crossing the street. Captain Jones of the SDPD was seen running around the crowd in circles telling people not to cross the street on a red light. His attempts failed as once the group began to cross, taking at least three cycles of the stop light until everyone made it onto the other side of the street.
Slowly but surely the crowd filled the sidewalk area in front of the entrance to exhibit Hall C chanting “Democrats come out, we have some shit to talk about.”
By 1:00p.m. 150 protesters assembled in front of the entrance to the Exhibit Hall. With signs against the windows and their voices carrying for blocks, Occupy voiced their grievances with the party.
Delegates from across the state as well and other convention goers walked in and out of the building through the chants and picket line. After a while several came out to address the crowd, discussing protesters’ grievances.
Richard Hall, one of the delegates attending the convention called for a people’s mic and shouted, “I am with you, when the protesters are being abused in Oakland where is our Governor Jerry Brown, when the protesters are being maced in D.C., where is Obama?”
Not all the delegates were as supportive as Hall, Tom P. Brown, engaged in a passionate debate with Holly of Occupy San Diego, claimed that the Democratic party was, in fact, on the protesters side and they just weren’t perfect, but were good enough. He explained that the protesters should not be protesting the Democratic party, rather the corporations and the 1 percent.
Holly explained to Hall that both parties had failed the public and, Democrats, while claiming to support Occupy, were voting in draconian measures such as the National Defense Authorization Act and attempting to co-opt the movement rather then trying to fix the failed system.
The rally continued until 1:30p.m. when protesters assembled into march formation and headed toward Balboa Park where lunch as well as the General Assembly took place.
The GA started at 4p.m. and began with a general discussion. The main topic of discussion was actions different occupations can collaborate on in the future as well as the next InterOccupy conference location.
Following the general discussion, the larger group broke into smaller work-groups discussing similar topics in greater detail. While the discussions were taking place, hot dogs, veggie burgers, chilli and grilled vegetables were served. Children played, ideas were exchanged and a movement was strengthened.