[Caution: I wouldn't recommend small children viewing this.]
Oh, the horror! Santa Claus and one of his elves were spotted running from state troopers near the Austin capitol over the weekend by members of Occupy Austin who caught it all on video.
As a tearful Santa questions his arrest for writing messages of "peace" and "joy" with chalk, a crowd of people gather to watch. Small children are stunned and speechless. The media arrives. The troopers then force the handcuffed Kringle face-down on the sidewalk while they call for back-up after what seems like an eternity of facing the crowd with panicked looks on their faces as they are filmed sending the chalk flying into the street during the take down.
Santa will surely need a vacation after the holidays this year.
At least three Occupy Austin members were arrested as the group tried to begin a new occupation in the northern part of the city.
About 50 protesters gathered at 5 p.m. Saturday at Highland Park Mall, where they were met by Austin police, who swept toward them saying they were on private property.
Two members were arrested. The group then marched to a former Home Depot and planned to pitch a tent city, but police kept them away. A third member was arrested there, protesters say that person was only video taping the group.
Those arrested were released on Sunday, and were greeted by fellow protesters who gathered to wait for their friends.
One Occupy member, Peter Cooper, explained that getting arrested is not the goal of their group, but they aren't afraid of it, either. "The oppression just isn't going to work. We'll be back," said Cooper.
Occupy Austin plans to attempt to establish a tent city again on Wednesday, October 10, 2012, which is also "World Homeless Day."
The group first set up camp at city hall from Oct. 6, 2011, to Feb. 3, 2012 when police forcibly evicted them.
The 10 hours and 35 minutes of video footage shot by the NYPD during the raid of Zuccotti Park that was released by Anonymous on Monday gives a more expansive view of what happened on the morning of November 15, 2011, albeit in a more sanitized form. Much of the footage, which also includes clips from the Duarte Square action and the re-opening of the park the following evening, is heavily edited, especially scenes that include arrests. Still, some of it is informative and contradicts the statements or positions made by city officials defending the raid, most notably, that Occupy's Library was dismantled and destroyed by Brookfield employees, and that reports of press harassment and arrests were part of a "myth."
The first four minutes of this footage shows protester Ted Hall giving a monologue as police in riot gear watch, but the remaining time shows police notifying Occupy's medical tent that they must leave. An officer tells the doctor on duty that he must leave, but that EMS will take care of his patients. The doctor declines, and refuses to leave his two patients. A long standoff ensues, as several officers believe that one of the protesters stole a scalpel. A nurse ensures them that they haven't. That nurse, "Nurse Jane," wrote about the experience here. She describes the medical tent as "the most amazing clinic I've ever worked in!"
Eventually, the tent is ripped by police knives, and everyone is forced out. Nurse Jane is seen speaking with another officer, explaining to him her concerns (11:40 mark), and notes that it doesn't help that there is a man filming her. "That would be me," the TARU officer from behind the camera replies.
The Gothamist has downloaded the footage into seven videos (including the one above) and breaks down each into note worthy events, you can view them all here.
Non-violent students at UC Davis protesting tuition hikes in November 2011 were sprayed with pepper-spray by campus police.
Police have been caught setting up occupy wall street protesters last year in order to prosecute them more harshly under the law.
In December of last year, Occupy Houston made headlines as they blocked the entrance to the Port of Houston by forming a human chain using pvc pipes to lock their arms together in "dragon sleeves." This tactic didn't stop the Houston police from arresting them, however, and instead of being charged with simple misdemeanors, the use of those pipes -- considered "criminal instruments" -- the group face felony charges.
Austin Police Officer Shannon Dowell was one of three undercover APD officers within Occupy Austin, the same group that ended up in the Port of Houston. The APF officers designed and built those "dragon sleeves" that got the protesters in so much trouble.
Officer Dowell apparently had been bragging about how he set up the occupiers, and someone who overheard him tipped off the attorney for one of the protesters.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was in Austin on Thursday, where he was a keynote speaker at South by Southwest’s second annual SXSWedu conference. He also made a stop to speak to a crowd at Austin Community College’s Eastview campus for a “town hall” discussion on education issues.
After being greeted by applause, Ducan received an unexpected "welcome" as Occupy Austin members stood and shouted out "Mic check," proceeding to read out a prepared statement attacking the privatization of public schools and other educational grievances:
Austin Police began enforcing a new policy on City Hall property banning people from the building during overnight hours. Around 10:00PM Police notified Occupy Austin protesters that they would have to leave the premises.
APD reports they gave protesters time to leave, but when protesters refused, police began making arrests. In all, seven demonstrators were arrested on criminal trespassing charges.
"The thing is they never mentioned a full on eviction," says protester Michelle Millette. "They said they had no plans for that."
The group plans to return to City Hall tonight at 7 p.m. for a general assembly, with a march to follow at 9p.m.
So, basically, if you happen upon a group of people with signs, and you decide that you like what they are saying and wish to join in the protest, you don't technically get your full three hours of free speech per unspecified amount of time.
I wasn't messing around when I said I had never met some of the people who joined us. One of them saw that we were evicted from the Capitol yesterday, and showed up at the very end of our allotted 3 hours of free speech time, and was told she was part of our "event" and that she would be ticketed and could risk arrest if she didn't leave.
Dude. That's messed up.
By the way. My sign said "All children should have access to healthcare, food, and a decent education." Real revolutionary stuff there. I can see why they wouldn't want me to talk about that with people for longer than 3 hours per unspecified time frame.
I wonder if the tea party gets their freedom of speech time limited when they gather in Texas?