DETROIT

Occupy Detroit Moves On From Grand Circus Park

11/15/2011 11:43 am ET | Updated Nov 22, 2011

This story has been updated.

Occupy Detroit left Grand Circus Park on Monday, the day the permit allowing them to camp in the park expired. Protesters spent the day cleaning the park.

Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. tweeted on Monday night, "Many thanks to #OccupyDetroit for working with DPD to truly maintain peace and exercise free speech in a manner we all should be proud of!"

In comparison to other Occupy movements, the Occupy Detroit movement has been largely peaceful.

Occupy Detroit will be using a private warehouse building on Michigan Ave. in southwest Detroit for some of their operations. Grand Circus Park will still be used for rallies and demonstrations, said Lee Gaddis, an Occupy Detroit spokesman.

But other sources in the Occupy Detroit movement disagreed with Gaddis, and with the the statement on the Occupy Detroit website that suggests the protesters will soon be occupying the warehouse space.

"We don't have any plans to occupy any buildings at this point," said Joe McGuire, who is a part of the Direct Action working group.

Protesters may occupy a building in the future, McGuire said, but they have no final plans to do so right now. McGuire added that any decision about plans for the group's future would need to be decided by consensus at a General Assembly.

One source involved in Occupy Detroit told HuffPost there had been tension around the warehouse site, with some members wishing to continue the occupation there and others objecting. Some members intend to live at the site, the source said.

The Occupy Detroit movement -- affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street protests that began in New York City in September -- began officially on Oct. 14 with 150 tents, a welcome station and a kitchen that serves 300 meals a day, according to the Free Press.

In the group's first month, Occupy Detroit planned several protests. On Oct. 21, 300 people marched to the Bank of America branch at the Guardian building, according the Detroit News.

A protest targeting Detroit International Bridge Company owner Manual (Matty) Maroun had 100 activists stopping Ambassador Bridge traffic for an hour at 5 p.m. on Oct. 27. Protesters from Occupy Detroit and several other activist groups formed a human chain on the Detroit side of the bridge, according to HuffPost Canada.

Occupy Detroit protesters have also rallied against big banks in front of a Chase bank branch on Woodward.

The first and only arrests so far for Occupy Detroit members occurred Nov. 2 at Wayne State. McGuire and Susie Reed were arrested by Wayne State Univiersity police after interrupting the taping of a segment of Detroit Public Television's "Leaders on Leadership" with Duncan Niederauer, chief executive officer of the New York Stock Exchange Euronext. Occupy Detroit protesters picketed outside the University Police Department until McGuire and Reed were released, according to the South End.

On Nov. 15, City Council granted a one-week extension to Occupy Detroit campers' permit, through Nov. 21. Occupy Detroit's previous permit had been granted through Nov. 14, and members of the group attended a Detroit City Council meeting Monday to ask for a two-week extension on the group's permit to camp in Grand Circus Park. The request for extension was filed by the non-profit group This Hood of Ours, Inc., according to a press release.

Occupy Detroit members were given verbal agreement that they would not be evicted from Grand Circus Park before the council meeting Tuesday, according to Gaddis. The newly-granted, one-week extension runs out two days before the Thanksgiving Day Parade down Woodward, which would pass the encampment at Grand Circus Park.

City workers posted signs reading "PARK CLOSES AT 10:00 PM DAILY" on Nov 9., but occupiers petitioned for a temporary permit allowing them stay overnight in Grand Circus Park, valid through Nov. 14.

Check back here for live updates and continuing coverage of Occupy Detroit.

11/18/2011 3:14 PM EST

Occupy The Hood Gears Up For The Holidays

When Occupy the Hood founder, Ife Johari Uhuru, walked down to Thursday's International Day of Actions Against Austerity rally at Grand Circus Park, it wasn't just to show solidarity.

"Yesterday, I was down there to meet with This Hood of Ours, another organization, to see how we could work together. Not just with Occupy Detroit, but to organize in Detroit. It's not just about occupying, It's about saving Detroit, period. Occupy the Hood is outreach."

Although Uhuru helped found Occupy Detroit and served as one of its first facilitators, she says she had to step away from effort to attend to the increasing needs of Occupy the Hood.

"What started to happen is that Occupy the Hood grew so fast, I had my hands in too many pots. Chapters started popping up [around the country]. I organized those chapters. I have pulled from the internal planning. I am still in solidarity, but I had to pull back."

Uhuru added that although Occupy the Hood is spreading rapidly, the organization does need more organizers to help with the growing work.

Occupy the Hood began shortly after the Occupy Wall Street protests at New York's Zucotti Park. It aims to bring more people of color and their issues into the movement. Chapters are active in New York, Atlanta, New Orleans, Philadelphia and several other cities around the country.

At Thursday's anti-austerity march, Uhuru announced Occupy the Hood's new holiday campaign to boycott Black Friday.

"Black Friday is one of the busiest, biggest days for corporations. It's also a very violent day," she said. "When we're standing in line trampling over people to get an iPod, we need to rethink what we're doing."

Typically the shopping event starts the day after Thanksgiving, though Uhuru noted that retailers seemed to have moved up the timeline this year to late Thanksgiving night. She hopes the action will encourage citizens to think about what power they do have and act on it.

"We definitely do have economic power. We can't always just complain only about the 1 percent," she said. "When we protest corporations they need to feel it, not just hear it."

11/17/2011 6:53 PM EST

Images Of 2nd Ave Bridge Blockade

ClickOnDetroit has a photo gallery of images from Thursday's protest, which blocked the 1-94 bridge at Second Avenue in Detroit.

Go here to see the photos.

11/17/2011 6:36 PM EST

Occupy Detroit Protest Snarls Traffic

@ jeremy_1988 :

Occupy Detroit #shutitdown today. So glad I wasn't in that traffic near Wayne State.

11/17/2011 6:15 PM EST

Detroiter Ife Johari Uhuru Coordinates 'Occupy The Hood' Movement

HuffPost's Janell Ross reports:

Uhuru, 35, is one of two core coordinators behind Occupy the Hood, a group that aims to bring the concerns of people of color to the global Occupy Wall Street movement. On Monday, she needed to add a few palliative posts to a debate raging on Occupy the Hood's Facebook page about which issues the group should rally around. She needed to design and print a new flyer for Occupy the Hood's ongoing food and clothing drive for Detroit's poor. She needed to convince a few more businesses around town to serve as collection points for the goods. And, in about 20 minutes, Uhuru's client's hair would require her full attention. The woman was there to have her dreadlocks washed, deep conditioned and re-twisted.

"I'm a single mom, a small business owner, a daughter, a neighbor. I have a lot of obligations," said Uhuru, who is black and lives in Novi, a community about 30 minutes northwest of downtown Detroit. "But trying to foster something where people who look like me, who have the same concerns as me are seen and heard? Doing that, I've discovered a whole new kind of busy."

Uhuru is one of thousands of people across the country long concerned about the rising tide of poverty and household debt who have found both inspiration and cause for action in the Occupy Wall Street movement. The protests have transformed Uhuru: Before, she was a suburban single mom who occasionally shared her political views with her wide circle of Facebook friends and volunteered for community projects, and now she is at the center of a developing national organization focused on economic issues that deeply effect communities of color.

Read more here.

11/17/2011 5:33 PM EST

Occupy Detroit Joins UAW In Protest

@ UAW :

#UAW with #occupydetroit blocking traffic. #p2 @OccupyWallStNYC http://t.co/ZmaIMroi

11/17/2011 5:11 PM EST

Occupy Joins With Faith Groups, Unions To Block I-94 Bridge

@ Local4News :

#Occupy #Detroit group was blocking the 2nd Ave. bridge at I-94 Thursday afternoon, images: http://t.co/pSodXx7I

11/17/2011 4:25 PM EST

@ crosswordboy :

occupy detroit just rolled down griswold. #ows http://t.co/b2ZzSEqW

11/17/2011 3:49 PM EST

Occupy Detroit Weighs In On Occupy Wall Street's Clashes With Police

The Detroit News reports Occupy Detroit members expressed sympathy with the 50-odd Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested in New York City Thursday:

"To the extent (the movement) has failed, America has failed," said Rafael Adley, initially a member of Occupy Lansing before joining Occupy Detroit this past weekend.

Lee Gaddies, a member of the Detroit group's media team, said protesting on Wall Street put the New York group in danger of police action.

"The reason New York in particular is getting attacked is because they're closest to the locus of power," Gaddies said Thursday afternoon. "(New York Mayor Mike) Bloomberg is part of the top 1 percent."

Members of Occupy Detroit were concerned for their fellow 99 percenters in New York, but police raids in other cities, including Oakland, Calif., and Portland, have no effect on the local protest.

"Detroit is a very different place. You can't superimpose Oakland and New York on Detroit," Gaddies said. "Detroit is built on relationships. We have a relationship with the police department; we have a relationship with City Council.

"Our strength is the fact that we are Detroiters, and we are loyal when it comes to other Detroiters."

Read more here.

11/17/2011 1:50 PM EST

Occupy Detroit Planning Rally For Last Night Of Permit

According to Mike Shallal, part of Occupy Detroit's Direct Action committee, the protesters are planning to hold a rally on Monday, Nov. 21, the night that their permit to stay in Grand Circus Park will expire.

"This is a movement that values free speech," Shallal said. "You can't dictate to us where or when to protest."

Protesters will be moving some storage and supplies to a building in southwest Detroit, and some who have been camping and don't have anywhere else to go will stay.

Shallal doesn't consider that an occupation.

"We were completely invited to that building."

Further occupation steps are unclear, but Shallah said an "uninvited" occupation of a public building is being discussed for the future.

11/17/2011 10:35 AM EST

Michael Moore In NYC For Wall Street Protest

No mention of his hometown, Flint, or of Occupy Detroit, but he did tweet this:

@ MMFlint :

You don't have to be in NYC to participate in this #OWS Day of Action! Actions occurring everywhere. Type "occupy" & your city into Facebook

Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS