Twenty-five people, most of them U.S. military veterans, were arrested while laying flowers at a war memorial in New York City Oct. 7. They were engaged in a peaceful vigil to honor those killed and wounded in war and to oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan as it entered its 12th year.
The vigil was held at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza in lower Manhattan and began with a program of music and speakers including Vietnam veteran Bishop George Packard, Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Chris Hedges, and Iraq combat veteran Jenny Pacanowski. At 8:30, the protesters began reading the names of the New York soldiers killed in Vietnam who are commemorated at the plaza and the military dead in Afghanistan and Iraq.
At 10:15 pm, the police informed the group that the park was officially closed and that if they remained they would be arrested. Many chose to continue reading names and laying flowers until they were handcuffed and taken away. One of the arrestees was Word War II Army combat veteran, Jay Wenk, 85, from Woodstock, NY.
The veterans had four aims:
Demand an end to the 11-year war in Afghanistan
Demand an end to all U.S. wars of aggression
Remember all those killed and wounded by war
Stand up for our right, and duty, to assemble and organize
Photojournalist, poet and Vietnam veteran Mike Hastie was the first arrested, after appealing to police not to force the veterans out of the war memorial: “This is a sad day. I was a medic in Vietnam. I watched soldiers commit suicide. I had soldiers’ brains all over my lap. How can you do this? How can you arrest me for being at a war memorial?”
Occupy LA was out in full force this past week to mark their one year anniversary.
The group gathered at Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles. The square has become the center of the Occupy L.A. movement since protesters were ousted from the City Hall lawn.
Occupiers say they're protesting corporate control and what they call the social, economic and political injustices that continue to affect people's everyday lives.
Los Angeles police forcibly removed the protesters last winter from the City Hall lawn that they dubbed "Solidarity Park." Occupiers say the removal from City Hall did not stop their message. Protesters say it was the Occupy movement that finally brought light to the many injustices facing people in America. They say people who criticize the movement haven't been paying attention to the results.
In fact, occupiers in Los Angeles have stopped several fraudulent foreclosures from occurring, and they've applied pressure to multiple banks to stop charging fees for basic services.
Occupy LA also remains focused on what they call the criminalization of homelessness. They say corporate influences are pushing leaders to force out the city's massive homeless population for the sake of making a profit.
The group expressed concerned that most Americans still seem unwilling to address the real problems facing the U.S.
LAPD officers were on the scene during the entire peaceful demonstration. There were no reports of arrests or altercations.
On July 26, 2012, members of the #YoSoy132 movement and other Mexican social movements held a siege Televisa, Mexico's largest TV broadcaster and media conglomerate. Afterward, the following statement from the Student Assembly was read (translated by OccupyWallSt.org):
Closing remarks from the siege of Televisa
The symbolic and peaceful siege of Televisa is an historic and unprecedented accomplishment, the first action directly resuming our program of struggle, particularly our number one point: the democratization and transformation of the media and dissemination of information, as our letter states: "We fight against media monopolies and oligopolies that concentrate and manipulate information, particularly in the current electoral context where collusion between political parties and media companies is evident." We note that the current model of commercial media, represented by Televisa and TV Azteca, are excluded from society and civil organizations in general. We believe that only the socialization and collective management of the media will allow for a true open media and guarantee the right to information and freedom of expression.
Summoned by shame, indignation, and suffering, we are here today at the gates of the media company which has been tasked to misinform and manipulate the Mexican people.
#YoSoy132 is a nonpartisan, nonviolent, autonomous, anti-neoliberal social, political, and student movement independent of the parties, candidates, and organizations who respond to an electoral program -- a democratic movement where decisions emanate from the local and general assemblies which has transcended the electoral situation and continues to be organized and to fight to profoundly transform Mexico, to act as a counterweight to any decision and policy that violates the rights and interests of our people.
We have taken to the streets and now surrounded the pack of lies which Televisa represents, and we are developing the cohesion and organization of the people by raising awareness and organizing to fight for: The democratization of media, information, and its dissemination; changing the education system, science, and technology; changing the neoliberal economic model, changing the national security model; promoting participatory democracy in connection with social movements; and changing the healthcare model.
Although this demonstration was entirely peaceful, as is the struggle of this movement, there was an unnecessary deployment of police elements that stopped us by surrounding the perimeter of Televisa's installations and extended the fence to the adjoining streets, impacting the roadways and the free movement of residents. After 24 hours of the massive fence, we demonstrated a high degree of organization and unity of effort between the YoSoy132 movement, the People's Front in Defense of the Earth, the EMS, the CNTE, and the other social organizations for successful completion of the first action agreed in the framework of the National Convention against Taxation, held in Atenco. This convention has the clear objective of defending democracy, preventing the imposition [of presumed President-elect Peña Nieto], and seeking profound transformation of the current state of Mexico.
The protest was sparked in large part by the"victory" of Peña Nieto, whom social movements claim was elected via fraud and manipulation, with only the vote of a tiny percentage of Mexico's total population. Peña Nieto is of the PRI, the party that ruled Mexico autocratically for 70 years. The National Commission of Human Rights has documented that Peña Nieto was directly responsible for violating the human rights of the people of Atenco in 2006 as they demonstrated for their land rights against neoliberal expansion. The events occured while he was the governor of the state of Mexico and included abuses by his security forces such as torture, illegal detentions, mass rape, and murder.
For background on #YoSoy132, who continue to draw tens of thousands to street demonstrations, see here. To support them locally, come to this event this Tuesday in New York:
Occupy Saks Fifth Avenue (Direct Action Against Carlos Slim)
Telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim is responsible for overcharging Mexico's rural poor over $129 billion. Slim owns TELMEX, a formerly public company that is now his private monopoly thanks to the neoliberal policies of the Mexican government. Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, continues to build his telecommunications empire on the backs of Mexico's poor and crippling the nation's economic development. We will not stand for such abusive practices that exploit people just so that the richest man in the world can get richer.
Join Mexico's Dos Paises Una Voz, Yo Soy 132, labor & Occupy Wall Street activists as we confront Slim at Saks Fifth Avenue, where he owns the largest private stake. We will bum rush the store, and flood it with the 99% on August 7th at 4:30 PM....
"Consistent with privacy guidelines established in state law and university policy, I can confirm that John Pike's employment with the university ended on July 31, 2012," Shiller said. "I'm unable to comment further."
Pike, 39, declined to comment when reached by The Bee as he was sitting in a meeting on campus where he said he was being terminated.
Pike's 2010 salary was listed as $110,243.12. He has been on paid leave since the debacle unfolded last year, sparking worldwide outrage, numerous investigations and calls for the resignation of UC Davis leaders.
During a Saturday evening march headed west on Harrison Street over the south branch of the Chicago River, a second became kettled at State and Congress, while the third gathered at 175 N. Desplaines, and proceeded south towards the others. After converging near Madison and Jefferson, the larger gathering moved north, then east, to turn south onto State Street, when double lines of police on foot and bicycles again met, stopped, and kettled the crowd of approximately 1,500, arresting several, while using batons to beat several more. The crowd worked its way south on State Street, and as it neared Taylor, it was again hemmed in, Around ten people in the assembly were beaten.
In the video below, livestream captured a police van that drove through a crowd of protesters, and as you'll see there is one man who ends up on the front of the van attempting to hang on to avoid falling under the wheels and being crushed.
There is an account of this incident in a local news report, and this is being blamed by police as well as the reporter as the police coming under assault from the protesters. There is also a video at this link from that local report, and a Chicago police official is interviewed. Note a woman standing behind the official and her reaction to his account of the events. This video also does show as noted by the reporter, at least two persons in black coming up beside the police van with something in their hands (The reporter says sharp objects) allegedly used to "slice the tires" of the van. This would normally be assumed to be "black bloc" protesters, however the Twitter feeds had mentions of police being overheard on scanners discussing changing clothing to look like black bloc to join the NATO protesters. Twitter reports are generally unconfirmed, but worth mentioning when there are many tweeting similar statements, especially with as much chaos as there was on Saturday.
The local reporter speaking to that Chicago police official did ask if police vehicles accelerating when caught in large groups of people was what they should normally do, and the official seemed rather caught off guard when he found out that the news crew had the incident on video. He responded that the video was something they (CPD) would need to take a look at.
No word yet regarding injuries resulting from the many police actions other than the man who is caught up by the police van in the following video being hospitalized, and by Twitter accounts he is also under arrest with friends being denied any visitation by police.
Tim Pool is livestreaming in Lower Manhattan anticipating trouble from the NYPD again tonight. After a scuffle in the street, a "white shirt" begins randomly picking out people and the arrests are underway.
Update 1: Ten arrests so far this evening, we only know that those arrested were cited for noise violations, for a total of 14 for the day. The police also designated a certain area of the sidewalk as a "sensitive" area, are protesters are to stay away from that area. Things seem calm, a few white shirts walking in the street, protesters watching, it seems like a stand off at the moment. NYC residents who were visiting the Occupiers are still in the area.
Update 2: Someone in the Occupy group yells "mic check," which quickly brings a white shirt over to the group to warn about noise level in a residential area.
Earlier today, the NYPD disrupted and arrested Occupiers who had been sleeping on the sidewalk in a "sleepful protest" for the past week. Lawyers are advising that sleeping on the sidewalks is indeed legal, but surprise *cough* the police disagree.
The first arrest took place on the east side of the street, just before 8 a.m., when an officer grabbed a large piece of cardboard from a man.
“That’s my cardboard,” the man said, trying to grab it back.
“You’re going to resist?” the officer said before arresting him. A few feet away, officers arrested a woman sitting on a curb.
Moments later, an officer placed a video camera close to the face of a man walking on Nassau Street. The man swung a bag toward the lens and the officer punched him in the face, then arrested him. A fourth arrest took place on Wall Street.
Anonymous hacktivists have released a new message on Friday to all Occupiers across the globe, encouraging them to continue their efforts and grow.
Anonymous further denounced "Corrupt governments, police, corporations, banking institutions," citing specifically police violence against occupy protesters and mentioning Scott Olsen by name, and the treatment of Bradley Manning.
The hacktivist group also warned occupiers to remain peaceful, and not to defeat their own efforts by allowing police, mayors and governing officials to "bring us down to their lowly level of existence."
The full message transcript follows:
Greetings citizens of the world. We are Anonymous. Since the occupation of Wall Street began we have been watching closely as countless people in cities around the world have taken to the streets in peaceful support of the movement. A show of support for a humanity free from the benefit of the few at the expense of the many. Free from corruption in our political and financial institutions, and free from the injustices caused by corporate personhood and the oppression of others. This is not the Arab Spring, Egypt, Greece, Tunisia, nor The American Autumn.
This, is mass global awakening.
The lies and corruptions that have attached themselves to our system like a parasite have been exposed.
A way to rid our world of this parasite uncovered.
The cure lies in all of us.
This is only the first wave of our brothers and sisters to awaken to the lies and corruptions taking place around them. You, my brothers and sisters bear the weight of carrying this message to the masses. You must continue to hold your ground and stand up to help educate others to these injustices. The practice of active non participation in the things we deem evil, peaceful protests, and large scale community education efforts are things each one of us can continue and teach others to help aid in the fight. This will assure us victory against tyranny in our world.
We have already seen signs of this process beginning to take hold. With the successful transfer of 4.5 billion dollars on Bank Transfer Day, and 690,000 new accounts created at credit unions in the U.S. alone, we have taken the first strike against the banks.
This will not be the last.
On Thursday, students, faculty and staff gathered at the US Santa Cruz campus entrance for an Occupy Education day protest against state budget cuts, and the increasing tuition costs in response to those cuts.Students blocked the main entrance, to permit only "pedestrians, bicyclists, emergency vehicles and those serving the disabled."
With campus administration's compassion and understanding for the student's concerns, both sides made keeping the protest peaceful a priority, and for the most part, it was.
Campus officials said there were no arrests or serious injuries, though at least one student hurt her head and knee when a vehicle attempted to drive through a blockade of demonstrators at the main entrance, an incident witnessed by a Sentinel reporter and the top campus official monitoring events, Executive Vice Chancellor Alison Galloway.
Police said the Ford Mustang made contact with three other students as it rolled through the crowd, revving its engine a couple of times before plowing into the students. The Sentinel observed the car coming to a stop only after students jumped on the hood, banged on the windows and threw a hot-pink paint ball on the windshield.
Protesters were angry when the police released the driver pending an investigation and began shouting various crimes they felt he should be charged with, including attempted murder. The driver spoke with the Sentinel:
“You don't want to stop in the middle of the mob,” Biggs (the driver) said. “I told them, ‘You need to move and what you're doing isn't peaceful.'”
As a fourth-generation resident of Santa Cruz, he said he has grown tired of years of campus protests.
“All I've ever seen protesters do is cause havoc,” he said, calling them “terrorists” and adding, “They just want to be radical.”
He said closing down the campus made no sense because “People are just trying to go through their day, get to their jobs. They are taking away everyone else's freedom at that point.”
If plowing through a crowd of pedestrians isn't a "radical" reaction to being inconvenienced, I don't know what is.
Before you begin reading, click to start the above video. It's from Dec. 13 at Occupy Portland as the Portland police move in to evict the occupy protestesters. Now is it irony, or are some people living in an alternate reality? Check out the following statement from the State Department:
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that the United States supported the right to peaceful protest in Russia as it does “anywhere in the world.”
“We expect that those demonstrations will remain peaceful on behalf of all parties, whether they’re the demonstrators or whether they are those keeping social order,” she said.
“So our expectation is that if there are protests, that they will be peaceful and that they will be allowed to proceed peacefully,” Nuland said.
I read that and I see these images:
And I wonder what does the word "support" mean in that statement:
Does "anywhere in the world" mean anywhere but here?
The word "peaceful" is in that statement, too. I've yet to see a single Occupy eviction that remained peaceful. There are even simply Occupy marches that aren't allowed to proceed without violent intervention by police.
I've seen how we brought "peace" to Iraq and to Afghanistan and more, and I've seen how we spread "Democracy."
The video of the brutal assault on Occupy Portland is real, as are the photographs above. The words in that statement are just that, words. Words can be difficult to take at face value and instead fall flat, unless just sometimes you actually get to see them in action.
Words will also generally fall flat when directed elsewhere if you don't live them at "home." You know, just sayin'.