#Occupied: Reports From the Front Lines


Written by Jennifer Sacks for The Occupied Wall Street Journal

Bryant Park, Manhattan: #Occupied. Photo: Eric Walton

This week in Occupy, more than 80 Shut Down the Corporations actions on #F29 signaled a spring resurgence, student activists across the nation marched for an affordable education and the Occupy movement introduced the mainstream media—and the country—to the American Legislative Exchange Council.

The NYPD: Keeping Zuccotti Park safe from the First Amendment. Photo: Katie Sokoler/Gothamist

#The NYPD shut down Zuccotti Park just minutes after midnight on February 29 in a strong yet baffling show of force that saw 40 cops monitoring 30 protesters. The eight resulting arrests were seemingly arbitrary and incidental, spurred after several protesters brought backpacks and sleeping bags into the parkand occurring just hours after a leaked internal memo revealed that Bloomberg’s “private army” had done its homework and knew many details about the following day’s New York-based actions. (For a full wrap-up of the day’s events, go here.)

#Later that day, a 200-strong march through the rain-slicked streets of midtown Manhattan snaked past the headquarters of Bank of America, Pfizer and the New York offices of Koch Industries, hitting a Wells Fargo or two along the way. They were joined by the political journalist Matt Taibbi. (Video)

#In Riverside, California, Occupy LA shut down three Wal-Mart distribution centers after occupying the immediate area all morning, only to be met by aggressive police officers who forced demonstrators to retreat. “This is the evolution of humanity, and sadly this is what we must do to get to the other side,” observed independent video journalist Freedom, who operates Occupy Freedom LA.

Riverside police confront a disabled woman peacefully demonstrating outside a Wal-Mart distribution hub in Southern California. Screengrab: Occupy Freedom LA's livestream.

#Fifty Occupy D.C. demonstrators with lined up outside Monsanto’s Washington D.C. offices in cold, pelting rain to protest the agribusiness giant’s litigious protection of its patented crops, among other issues.

#In response to Occupy Portland‘s call to shut down the corporate members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Occupy Tucson #occupied the transportation headquarters of G4S, a massive company that operates the buses used to transport those being deported or moved between immigration detention facilities. “We’re trying to create a day without deportations,” one of the occupiers said.

#60,000 students took to the streets of several Spanish cities, including Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona, to protest against government spending cuts that have left many classrooms without heating. In Barcelona, students were attacked by riot police.

#Occupy Oakland held a funeral for capitalism which included live music, speeches and a demonstration in front of Chase Bank.

#Occupy Portland peacefully marched through downtown, with several hundred taking to the streets protesting corporate involvement with ALECand a few dropping by a downtown McDonald’s and chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho, Monsanto has got to go!”

Stomping Through Stumptown: Marching in downtown Portland on #F29. Photo: Lauriel

#Mother Jones explains why ALEC—a right-wing, corporate-controlled group most people have probably never heard of—was a specific target of so much direct action on #F29.

#Occupy NOLAjoined by Occupy Fairhope, Alabamastaged a BP protest march, during which demonstrators prosecuted the oil giant responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster and held a mock funeral memorializing the health of the Gulf of Mexico, which is still polluted with oil.

Judge and Jury: Occupy NOLA puts BP on trial.

#Also on #F29, twenty-five suspected members of the the hacktivist collective Anonymous—accused of planning coordinated cyber attacks against institutions including Colombia’s defense ministry and presidential websites—were arrested in an Interpol sweep across South America and Europe.

#From March 1 to 5, Occupy Education California embarked upon a 99-mile march from Berkeley to San Francisco to mark the #M1 National Day of Action for Education. Occupy Colleges and Occupy Education sponsored rallies nationwide, prompting the mainstream media to speculate that colleges will fuel the second wave of the Occupy movement.

#On #M1, students, educators and activists partially shut down the University of California, Santa Cruz and prevented cars and buses from entering the campus, while students at the University of California, Davis held a funeral for public higher education.

#Also on #M1, students and Occupy Chicago members #occupied the conference room of the DePaul University president’s office and demanded a public forum on tuition hikes.

#A group of University of New Mexico students had just mic-checked an Israel Alliance talk entitled “Why the Arab Spring Is Failing” when older male audience members got up out of their seats and physically attacked them. See the stunning raw video here.

Re$t In Peace: Occupy Oakland bids goodbye to capitalism. Photo: danilo/Occupy Oakland

#The Virginia House of Delegates has voted in favor of legislation that rejects the “kidnapping provisions” of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012.

#On February 22, twenty-five prisoners at Ohio State Penitentiary, a supermax prison, victoriously ended a three-day hunger strike inspired by the Occupy4Prisoners National Day of Action called for by Occupy Oakland.

#The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) issued a video message in solidarity with students on a hunger strike at the University of Virginia organized by the Living Wage Campaign. “The students who chose bold action and engaged in a hunger strike deserve our unconditional support and respect,” said Valarie Long, the union’s executive vice president.

#The creation of an Occupy-related credit union in San Francisco is moving forward, with a proposed nine-member board nearly in place.

#The artists behind the 99% Bat Signal first unveiled on #N17 are back with their own personal bat mobile, codename: The Illuminator. On March 2, Occupy Wall Street protestors staged a “die-in” in front of Chase bank with the help of this fancy new gadget.

#Concerned by reports from numerous cities of excessive police force against protesters, unlawful arrests and the passing of new laws to curtail protest, a coalition of human rights and civil liberties experts are conducting a national study to the government response to the Occupy protests.

The Raging Grannies serenade Portland on #F29: "Oh dear, what can the matter be? Big money's killing democracy!" Photo: Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian

#On March 13, five Seattle occupiers known as the “Chase 5″ will go to trial for occupying a Chase Bank branch in Capitol Hill in November, when hundreds rallied outside and disrupted business as usual before a demonstration against JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon as he spoke in downtown Seattle.

#The court case against Justin Honea for “prohibited activities in park” associated with the Occupy Charleston presence at Marion Square has been dismissed. Two more Occupy Charleston cases are set for trial later this year.

#The House of Representatives has approved a bill that outlaws protests in instances where some government officials are nearbywhether or not you even know it.

#The National Park Service has extended Occupy DC‘s Freedom Plaza permit through April 29.

#Monsanto, the 1% of Big Ag and the scourge of small farmers everywhere, has found a formidable opponent in the Occupy movement.

They're Lovin' It: Occupy Portland educates McDonald's patrons about Monsanto on #F29. Photo: Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian

#Transit riders and Occupy activists spoke out against proposed Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) fare hikes and service cuts at an open hearing on February 28.

#Police briefly arrested 100 Cuban dissidents in a multipronged campaign to prevent public demonstrations to mark the anniversaries of the deaths of five Castro opponents.

#President Obama has finally asked Congress to end $4 billion in subsidies for oil and gas companies, vowing to tackle the country’s long-term energy issues while shunning “phony election-year promises about lower gas prices.”

#Rolling Stone published an internal Department of Homeland Security report entitled “SPECIAL COVERAGE: Occupy Wall Street,” which details surveillance of the early days of the Occupy movement.

#WikiLeaks began publishing more than five million emails from Stratfor, a U.S.-based global security analysis company that has been likened to a shadow CIA. One juicy revelation: the Stratfor CEO and founder and a former Goldman Sachs regional director plan to launch their own investment fund called Stratcap.

#The Red Cross managed to get aid to Syrians fleeing the battered and shelled Baba Amr district of Homs but was blocked for a third day from entering the city amid reports of bloody reprisals by dictator Bashar al-Assad’s forces. A Syrian activist calling himself “Danny,” who has posted videos of the regime’s attacks on YouTube for the last several months, told Anderson Cooper that if it wasn’t for the media attention, 200,000 Syrians would be dead. “This is not going to stop,” he said. “They’re going to have to kill every single family living in Homs. There’s not one family who hasn’t lost a relative. They will never stop.”

#There have been at least 6,628 arrests in 111 cities since the Occupy movement began on September 17, 2011.

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