Wednesday, 16 November 2011

“You can't evict an idea whose time has come”



Throughout the United States, city administrations are moving to break up encampments of the Occupy protests, and in the process trampling underfoot the constitutionally protected right of assembly, and I must add that I am not at all familiar with the US constitution, but whatever it is there can be no doubt that it’s been thrown out of the window with the many attacks that have taken place on evicting Occupy protests.

Police cleared out the Occupy camp in Oakland, California in a predawn raid on Monday, resulting in 32 arrests. This followed the shutting down of the Portland, Oregon encampment, in which 50 people were arrested. Last week, police used truncheons to hit unarmed students attempting to set up a camp at the University of California, Berkeley.

According to one tally, there have been over 3,600 arrests at Occupy protests, mostly in the United States, including 943 in New York City, 370 in Tucson, 352 in Chicago, 206 in Oakland and 153 in Boston.

Many of the raids have been carried out by police in riot gear, in some cases using rubber bullets and tear gas, as in last month’s attack on Occupy Oakland. Those arrested have been subjected to capricious and retaliatory measures, including high bail and trumped-up charges.

And of course yesterday the world witnessed, although the press by all accounts were barred and band from recording events at Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park), home of Occupy Wall Street for the past two months and birthplace of the 99% movement that has spread across the country and around the world. At about 1 a.m. Tuesday, police handed out notices from the park's owner, Brookfield Office Properties, and the city saying that the park had to be cleared because it had become unsanitary and hazardous. Protesters were told they could return in several hours, but without sleeping bags or tents.

The New York times reported that the clearing out of Zuccotti Park (Liberty Square) came as protesters announced on their website that they planned to "shut down Wall Street" with a demonstration on Thursday to commemorate the completion of two months of the beginning of the encampment, which has spurred similar demonstrations across the country. Whist I am still trying to familiarise myself with the exact details and sequence of yesterday’s events and recent developments since, my principal thoughts are that the Occupy Movement can only get stronger, and that eviction hands us the high ground as the saying now goes and spreads: “You can't evict an idea whose time has come”.

These events of course make you think of our own occupation at St. Paul’s and as I understand it the Corporation of London are considering new action to evict our camp, and I think in the next few days we will have a better idea of what’s going on in this regard, there really is no point in getting worked up about this just now, so whilst we sit back and take in a bit of stock, here is an interesting article about the London Protest published in The New York Times - Here

"Be wary of great leaders...Hope that there are many, many small leaders." - Pete Seeger 

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