by Terry Collins and Marcus Wohlsen, Associated Press
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Heady with their successful attempts to block trucks and curb business at busy ports up and down the West Coast, some Occupy Wall Street protesters plan to continue their blockades and keep staging similar protests despite requests to stop because they're hurting wage earners.
Thousands of demonstrators forced shipping terminals in Oakland, Calif., Portland, Ore., and Longview, Wash., to halt parts of their operations Monday.
At least one outside observer who has followed political movements for decades said the port blockades were an indicator of the disruptive activities likely to continue for months and right until next year's presidential elections.
The movement, which sprang up this fall against what it sees as corporate greed and economic inequality, focused on the ports as the "economic engines for the elite." It comes weeks after police raids cleared out most of their tent camps.
Protesters are most upset by two West Coast companies: port operator SSA Marine and grain exporter EGT. Investment banking giant Goldman Sachs Group Inc. owns a major stake in SSA Marine and has been a frequent target of protesters.
Demonstrators say they are standing up for workers against the port companies, which have had recent high-profile clashes with union workers. Longshoremen in Longview, for example, have had a longstanding dispute with EGT, which employs workers from a different union to staff its terminal. The longshoremen's union says the jobs rightfully belong to them.
In Oakland, some 1,000 protesters vowed to at the port overnight, but the crowd had shrunk to around 150 by 9:30 p.m. Monday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.
While the protests attracted far fewer people than the 10,000 who turned out Nov. 2 to shut down Oakland's port, organizers declared victory and promised more demonstrations.
"Mission accomplished," said protest organizer Boots Riley.
Mike King, another Occupy Oakland organizer, said demonstrators had voted to remain at the port until at least 3 a.m. Tuesday to block any sudden shifts of longshoremen to offload the three ships that were neglected Monday.
KGO-TV reported that the 3 a.m. shift was canceled because of the demonstrators, who at least later in the morning, were no longer at the port.
Two people were arrested in Oakland during morning protests for impeding traffic after ignoring orders to clear a gate, said interim Police Chief Howard Jordan.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan pleaded with the occupiers to go home and allow the longshoremen and truckers get on with their livelihoods.
"People have to think about the consequences," she said. "People have to think about who they are hurting. They are saying, `We want to get the attention of the ruling class.' Well, I think the ruling class is probably laughing, and people in this city will be crying this Christmas. It's really got to stop."
Police in Seattle used "flash-bang" percussion grenades to disperse protesters who blocked an entrance to a Port of Seattle and 11 demonstrators were arrested.
Officers moved in Monday evening after Occupy Seattle protesters tried to set up a makeshift barrier near the entrances to two terminals, using scraps of wood and aluminum debris.
Police Detective Jeff Kappel said demonstrators blocked traffic and hurled flares, bags of paint and other debris at officers and police horses. He said one officer was treated by medics after a bag of paint hit his face.
In Portland, a couple hundred protesters blocked semitrailers from making deliveries at two major terminals.
Security concerns were raised when police found two people in camouflage clothing with a gun, sword and walkie-talkies who said they were doing reconnaissance.
In Alaska, Occupy Anchorage protesters showed solidarity with their West Coast counterparts by focusing on port issues, though they took a different tack in Alaska's largest city.
Rather than try to shut down the port - which is only open two days a week and Monday was not one of them - protesters assembled to highlight what they said was mismanagement and the proposed expansion of the Port of Anchorage, which handles most goods consumed by Alaskans.
Todd Gitlin, a sociologist at Columbia University and an authority on social movements, said the Occupy movement is highly ambitious and would continue to expand and diversify. He has said that the 1960s anti-war movement grew gradually for years until bursting onto the world stage during the election year of 1968.
"I would assume that the action today is going to be representative of what's going to be happening from now on," Gitlin said. "There will be more of a tendency toward militant disruptive activity. There's going to be a number of coordinated actions and this is going to go on for months."
Some port officials lament the loss of pay for longshoremen and truck drivers, who are not among the nation's wealthy elite - and protesters would say are among the 99 percent.
"Today's disruptions have been costly to port workers and their families in terms of lost wages and shifts," Port of Oakland spokeswoman Marilyn Sandifur. She noted that the Oakland seaport is the fifth busiest container port in the United States and intended to open as usual Tuesday morning.
Gitlin said while the Occupy Wall Street movement is not as focused as the 1960s protests against the Vietnam War, it is in many ways more ambitious.
"The goal of the anti-war movement could be agreed upon by everyone who took part in it," he said. "There was a convergence. This is a long and deep process to fight against the power of the wealthy. That was a huge social convulsion that involved millions of people; this present movement has that potential, but it will be a long time before we know how far it goes."
Some longshoremen supported the Occupy Oakland protesters, even though they lost a day's wages. But some of the truck drivers who had to wait in long lines as protesters blocked gates said the demonstrators were harming the very people they were trying to help.
"This is joke. What are they protesting?" said Christian Vega, who sat in his truck carrying a load of recycled paper. He said the delay was costing him $600. "It only hurts me and the other drivers.
"We have jobs and families to support and feed," he said. "Most of them don't."
Associated Press writers Beth Duff-Brown in San Francisco, Christina Hoag in Long Beach, Calif., Nigel Duara in Portland, Ore., Manuel Valdes and Doug Esser in Seattle and Dan Joling in Anchorage, Alaska, contributed to this report.
Via HuffPost Miami:
When an Occupy Miami member offered evicted protestors vacant apartments in a building he owns in Downtown Miami's Overtown neighborhood, it seemed like the perfect solution: the 'Peace City' space would provide headquarters for the movement and shelter a small faction of the group's most vulnerable members. But it hasn't gone well. Other tenants say the building has become a cesspool of drug use and violence while non-resident Occupy Miami members are trying to distance themselves from the 'radicals' -- all while the two factions are wrestling for control over Occupy Miami's social media sites and future plans.
The feud between the Overtown occupiers and more mainstream members has only gotten worse. The two factions are now battling for control of Occupy Miami's social media sites. The movement's main Twitter account recently announced it had been "hijacked by a small, non-consensus group of radical members." The Occupy Miami Facebook page was also temporarily hacked by someone inside Peace City. Meanwhile, the Overtown occupation is slowly driving away more moderate members.
"This is a black eye on the Occupy movement," says Shannon Reaze, an Overtown community organizer and Occupy Miami supporter who is now helping tenants move out of Paz's building. "The violence and drugs going on here are way outside of what I thought Occupy stood for. This place is destabilized."
...The supposedly hard-core activists here spend their days drinking and getting high. And as Peace City devolves into lawlessness, the most committed occupiers are leaving. Local landowners and politicians want the place shut down, while cops are suspicious. Yet as long as Paz wants the protesters around, nothing short of a demolition order can keep them out.
Via HuffPost DC:
WASHINGTON -- Occupy DC has a new lawsuit involving tents on its hands. But it doesn't involve temporary structures in McPherson Square.
Two protesters arrested during a February action outside Merrill Lynch's offices on 15th Street NW near McPherson Square have filed suit against the Metropolitan Police Department, Legal Times reports. (Read the complaint here.)
The plaintiffs, Samuel Dukore and Kelly Canavan, were part of a "targeted occupation" of Merrill Lynch on Feb. 13 where protesters were raising awareness about Merrill Lynch's reportedly close ties with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). Issa, for his part, claims that the reports of these close ties are "wildly inaccurate."
Full story here.
OWS reports via its website:
After the brutal attack on the attempted re-occupation of Liberty Square by NYPD on the 6-month anniversary of #OWS, a number of Occupiers have relocated their base of occupation to Union Square in midtown Manhattan, a point of convergence for several #OWS protests over the past 6 months.
According to reports on the ground, several dozen people slept in the park after the illegal and violent raid on Liberty Square. Over 70 people remain, now on Day 3. Although tents and tables are still banned, Occupiers have brought blankets and sleeping gear. Many are calling it ¨the new Occupation.¨ In addition to holding General Assemblies, Union Square Occupiers are providing vital jail support for those arrested on #M17 as they are released from NYPD custody. So far, the NYPD has made no attempt to remove Occupiers or prevent them from sleeping in the park.
Occupy Long Beach is defending the mother's home. For more information, click here.
Cecily McMillan, an Occupy Wall Street activist once profiled in Rolling Stone, suffered a seizure Saturday night during protest action near Zuccotti Park. Many on-scene reported Ms. McMillan had trouble breathing after she was tackled and handcuffed by law enforcement.
A video uploaded to Youtube late Saturday night purports to show the attack. Two women can be heard commenting, “There’s Cecily,” then there is confusion as the police clearly perform a violent take-down on someone in the crowd.
According to Jeff Sharlet’s November, 2011 article about the Occupy Movement, this may be Ms. McMillan’s second violent encounter with police.
To read the full story, go here.
Cops caught on video about 10 seconds in taking down the woman who had the apparent seizure:
Watch video from inside Zuccotti Park as police moved in late last night:
- Show quoted text -
The paper reports from last night's chaos at Zuccotti Park:
At one point, a woman who appeared to be suffering from seizures flopped on the ground in handcuffs as bystanders shouted for the police to remove the cuffs and provide medical attention. For several minutes the woman lay on the ground as onlookers made increasingly agonized demands until an ambulance arrived and the woman was placed inside.
By 12:20 a.m., a line of officers pushed against some of the remaining protesters, forcing them south on Broadway, at times swinging batons and shoving people to the ground.
Kobi Skolnick, 30, said that officers pushed him in several directions and that as he tried to walk away, he was struck from behind in the neck. “One of the police ran and hit me with a baton,” he said.
To read the full story, go here.
|@ Greg_Palast : Our photographer ZD Roberts beaten @OWS Zucotti Park by cops. Thrown to ground, hair grabbd, hit with clubs while yelling, I'M PRESS PRESS!|
|@ macfathom : Doubling east on Barclay, and now the ragged front of the march is at City Hall. #OWS|
|@ LuddoftheFuture : girl in the street having a seizure and the cops have her in handcuffs. can this get any worse (live at http://t.co/4pLyy3gP)|
Activists cry out for paramedics. The woman is limp on the ground. "Come on you violent bastards where's the paramedics?"
|@ jeffrae : March is heading north up broadway #ows #occupywallstreet|
|@ macfathom : Dozens of arrests, many cuffed and sitting on broadway waiting for their ride to jail. #OWS|
|@ RDevro : Police are barricading the park. It's cleared. I witnessed countless violent arrests. No way to estimate numbers.|
Cops pulling apart human chains. There are shouts for mic checks. Now, chants start forming. "The NYPD are sweeping through," says Tim on the live stream.
|@ ANIMALNewYork : NYPD just made an announcement that Brookfield has to "clean the park" and Liberty Plaza is officially "closed."|
|@ OccupyWallStNYC : Bagpipers just started marching into the park bringing the party mood with them, NYPD arrested one of them, and things got real heated. #OWS|
|@ JackieHRye : NYPD just "destroyed" the tent in Zuccotti Park, Occupiers call for its re-building. Marching band also going through the park. #OWS|
|@ RDevro : The tent in the middle of the park continues to fill with people planning to stay the night. Lots of energy here.|
Activists ask for more room as the tent is growing, expanding.
"It looks like a floating tent." -- as Tim on his live stream.
|@ OccupyWallStNYC : .@justawall is leading us in a song! "Hit the road, banks! And don't ya come back no more no more no more no more!" #OWS|
Activists have assembled make-shift, cardboard sleeping areas inside Zuccotti Park. The cardboard is joined by a large green tarp.