#Occupied: Reports From the Front Lines


Lauren DiGioia of Occupy Wall Street croons in Times Square on May 15. Photo: Stacy Lanyon

This week in Occupy, 75,000 people descended on Chicago to protest the NATO summit, two judges sided with Occupy Wall Street against the NYPD, the indefinite detention clause of the NDAA was halted by a judge, several shareholders meetings were #occupied and protesters swarmed the G8, despite its move to isolated Camp David.

The National Nurses United protest fires up Daley Plaza on May 18. Photo: Zbigniew Bzdak

#The latest arrest tally in Chicago is 45; those arrested include members of Occupy Chicago and Occupy Wall Street, a lawyer and a Getty Image photographer. 200 awaited their release outside the jail. “It was ridiculous,” said Robert Hines, 23, an Occupy Chicago member who was arrested Sunday. Police “started hitting people with billy clubs. A misuse of power, in my opinion.” Buses had delivered protesters from as far away as New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles.

#Veterans gathered in Chicago and relinquished their medals of honor in disgust at the ongoing occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, and a brave protester tore down a prominently-displayed NATO banner near the Michigan Avenue bridge. Here is a weekend roundup of the demonstrations in Montreal and Chicago by Allison Burtch of OWSJ and Animal New York.

#Several prominent livestreamers, including Tim Pool, Geoffrey Giraffe and Luke Rudkowski, were detained and searched at gunpoint in Chicago while covering the protests.

#Occupied: The Bank of America shareholders meeting. Photo: Jason Miczek

#In the run-up to the summit, the city of Chicago, terrified of clashes, had yanked a permit for a demonstration planned by National Nurses United. “If the nurses are a threat to Rahm Emanuel, then heaven help the U.S.,” said RoseAnn DeMoro, the organization’s executive director.

#Following the G8 Summit at Camp David, demonstrations erupted in nearby towns involving members of the Occupy Movement, as well as Ethiopian activists who came from across the United States to protest meetings involving Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

#Alexander Arbuckle, an NYU student charged with disorderly conduct for standing in the middle of the street blocking traffic during an Occupy Wall Street rally On January 1, was acquitted after the police account, delivered under oath, bore no resemblance to photographs and videos taken that night. “It really makes our job a lot easier to have that video,” Paul Keefe, who represented Arbuckle, said of Tim Pool’s livestream record of the arrest, which proved crucial.

Occupy Chicago protesters march down Montrose Avenue to Mayor Rahm Emaunel's house during a demonstration in Chicago May 19.

#A day later, a second Occupy trial also ended in acquittal when video proved that protester Jessica Hall was not standing in the street against orders, as police claimed, but peacefully standing on the sidewalk. The NYPD’s own video documentation confirmed that it was actually the NYPD metal barricades preventing vehicles from passing, not protesters.

#A federal judge has granted class-action status to a lawsuit challenging the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics, saying she was disturbed by the city’s “deeply troubling apathy towards New Yorkers’ most fundamental constitutional rights.”

#Ooh, look, it’s an NYPD police suppression montage!

#A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction to block the so-called “Homeland Battlefield” provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act that would allow the military to indefinitely detain anyone it accuses of knowingly or unknowingly supporting terrorism, ruling it unconstitutional. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges filed the suit along with Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir, Occupy London organizer Kai Wargalla, and Alexa O’Brien, an organizer for U.S. Day of Rage. They call themselves the Freedom Seven.

#RT points out that a repeal of the Homeland Battlefield provision would only protect American citizens from arbitrary arrest; citizens the world over would still face indefinite detention.

#Occupied: Chicago, May 19.

#The day after the injunction was issued, the House voted down an amendment to the NDAA that would have blocked the Homeland Battlefield provisions.

#University of California police evicted Occupy the Gill Tract on May 14. 100 police officers clad in riot gear and brandishing batons appeared at the farm at 6:15 a.m. and made nine arrests. That’s nine cops for every protester. In response, America’s leading food writers and activists issued a statement in support of Occupy the Farm.

#After a 1:55 a.m. eviction and the arrest of four of its members, Occupy Little Rock went right back to protesting, determined to stay the course.

#Hundreds of protesters #occupied Bank of America’s corporate headquarters in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, on May 9 for the bank’s annual shareholder meeting. In solidarity, Occupy Fights Foreclosures in Los Angeles “fraudulently foreclosed” on a Bank of America branch and Occupy Detroit protesters occupied a Bank of America building. The Democratic National Convention will be held in Charlotte starting September 3.

A young activist at a UniteWomen.org rally in Madison, Wisconsin. Photo: Ellen Monahan Holly

#Angry shareholders confronted the management of Barclays over exorbitant executive pay at their annual meeting in a London concert hall. Citigroup shareholders also revolted over CEO Vikram Pandit’s pay.

#More than 500 people from at least 11 states protested Verizon’s annual shareholders meeting, leveling allegations of corporate greed.

#As part of a Global Day of Action, Occupy Wall Street protesters descended upon Morgan Stanley’s annual shareholders on May 15, meeting, pressing Chairman and Executive James Gorman with a slew of questions about Wall Street lobbying, job creation and compensation.

#Occupy Wall Street demonstrators are coming forward to allege they were targeted by police officers executing old bench warrants for minor violations in order to collect intelligence about the May Day protests. Legal experts insist that executing old warrants solely to investigate political activity is illegal.

#On May 16, the Justice Department released an 11-page letter to the Baltimore Police Department, as well as many other larger police departments and agencies, reminding them that the recording of police officers doing their jobs is a First Amendment right, and that any officer who takes a camera and deletes or destroys footage under any circumstances should be punished. Some agencies are pushing for a stronger statement from the Justice Department, asking them to address First Amendment rights in America as a whole.

#San Francisco prosecutors plan to file charges against five people arrested in the takeover of a vacant building during May Day protests.

A NATO protester tears down a banner advertising the summit in Chicago.

#Twenty occupiers arrested for trespassing in Gainesville last October are fighting the charges, arguing for their cases to be thrown out because they were protesting on a public plaza. Their attorney says that without some sort of compelling argument towards sanitation or safety, the city has obviously infringed on freedom of speech.

#In Oakland, the city council is considering a ban on what they are calling the “tools” of protesters, including poles, hammers, and shields.#Twenty New York activists, including Cornel West, were convicted of disorderly conduct at a protest over against the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy, ending a trial that they used to spotlight their message. West calls the policy an “extension of slavery.”

#Police officers in Minneapolis are being accused of handing out drugs to members of the Occupy Movement, a new documentary alleges.

Lehman High School sophomore and activist Malik Ayala. Photo: Patrick Wall

#Malik Ayala, a sophomore at Lehman High School in the Bronx, was slapped with a disorderly conduct ticket inside his high school after trying to hand out flyers protesting the city’s plan to shut it down.

#Two student activists rallying outside the Brooklyn College president’s office were arrested on May 14, spawning a solidarity march at Hunter College that marched up the Upper East Side, home of the 1%.

#Staff and pupils from South Peninsula High School in Diep River, Cape Town, South Africa, has occupied a former primary school that has stood vacant for seven years to protest the government’s inaction while schools are crying out for facilities.

#Don’t like your school? Start your own: A group of students suspended from Western International High School in Detroit after staging a walkout to protest district policies have started a “freedom school” where they plan to continue learning about civil rights, art and other topics.

#A Minnesota grandmother is fighting back against her local community after they told her she must remove her lawn signs supporting Occupy or face fines.

#The Community Banking Working Group of Occupy Wesleyan and local protestors marched on the Main Street branch of Bank of America in Middletown, Connecticut, on April 28, some closing their accounts and cancelling credit cards in protest of the bank’s environmentally and economically destructive policies.

A demonstration at Aleppo University in Syria left 4 dead. Photo: Local coordination committees in Syria

#On April 26, an Occupy Wall Street affinity group aimed at eliminating corporate money from elections welcomed Mitt Romney and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson outside the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square, where they met for a lavish fundraiser to coincide with the NFL draft. To greet these 1%ers, the group created “The New York 99ers” football team and presented these multimillionaires with a question: Can the 1% really tackle the jobs crisis if they’re so out of touch with economic reality?

#JPMorgan Chase, a bank that holds $1 trillion in federally-insured deposits, lost $3 billion in a risky but perfectly legal hedge.  The bank’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, is an outspoken opponent of banking regulation, particularly the Volcker Rule. Disempower the banks by moving your money to a local credit union.

#Despite banning the wearing of masks in Montreal and spontaneous protests of more than 50 people throughout Quebec – as well as imposing harsh financial penalties on anyone preventing students or teachers from entering a school in the province – civil unrest continues as students strike for a 26th straight night. Students in neighboring Ontario are keen to join.

#A countrywide mask ban law is imminent in Canada.

Régine Chassagne of Arcade Fire wears a red patch with a peace sign in solidarity with the striking students of Montreal. Photo: NBC

#The members of Arcade Fire wore red patches with peace signs during the band’s performance with Mick Jagger on Saturday Night Live on May 19 in solidarity with the striking students in Montreal. Red patches have also appeared at the Cannes Film Festival.

#Hundreds of students converged on the campus of Aleppo University in Syria’s biggest city on May 17 for an anti-government protest that was set upon by pro-government students and security forces. Four days later, the dormitories were raided and four were killed.

#Occupy Moscow‘s encampment was dispersed, but several dozen brave protesters persist.

#The last remaining Occupy encampment in Ireland has been raided. Occupy Galway was dispersed at 4:30 a.m. on May 16.

Well, Which Is It?: Why we need independent media. Photo: @OccupyWallStNYC

#In a stinging rebuke to austerity, Greece is poised to leave the Euro and return to drachmas. A new election is set for June 17.

#Blockupy Frankfurt staged a massive rally on May 19 to decry the crippling austerity measures affecting much of Europe that drew 20,000, the centerpiece of four days of demonstrations. This, after being temporarily evicted days earlier.

#Workers at a Chinese factory owned by Foxconn, Apple’s main manufacturer, threatened to jump off the roof of a building in a protest over wages just a month after the two firms announced a landmark agreement on improving working conditions.

#Here’s how Apple has avoided millions in taxes in California and 20 other states.

#300 former Fiat workers in Sicily fed up with plant closures and layoffs have #occupied two banks to raise awareness of unemployment and austerity.

#Tens of thousands of Spaniards protesting austerity measures marched on the streets of different cities in the country May 12 to mark the first anniversary of the Indignados movement that ignited similar protests worldwide.

Danny Valdes serenades activists in Times Square on the May 15 Global Day of Action. Photo: Stacy Lanyon

#These ten companies control everything we consume.

#If you like Occupied Stories, you’ll love At the Heart of the Occupation.

#A new Occupied news site, The People’s Record, tracks revolution around the world.

#What the fuck has #Occupy done so far? Plenty, as it turns out.

#The Occupy Arrests tally is up to 7,223.

Want to report news about your occupation or meetup? Email us at Jensacks77@gmail.com.

This week’s roundup was once again brought to you in conjunction with Occupy ALL the Updates, curated by citizen journalist and Occupy News Expert SIUKittyPie.

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  • http://rouellette.myopenid.com/ ROuellette

    Great report!

  • jeangerard

    Good to have so much news all in one place, and easy to refer to for others. Thanks and keep up thoughtful work for justice and peace.